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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

In the wake of the Office of the Special Counsel recommending that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway be fired for violations of the Hatch Act, it's worth noting that she's not the first Trump administration to be censured as a result of the law.

The big picture: In 2018, six White House staffers were found to have violated the Hatch Act which prohibits specific political activities while serving as a federal employee. The law, established in 1939, is meant to ensure that the federal government does not exert influence on elections. All of the individuals were officially warned that continued violations could be subject to further action, but no official punishments were enforced.

Details: The following White House officials were accused of violations last winter...

  • Raj Shah, principal deputy press secretary
  • Jessica Ditto, deputy director of communications
  • Madeleine Westerhout, executive assistant to the president
  • Helen Aguirre Ferré, former special assistant to the president and director of media affairs
  • Alyssa Farah, press secretary for the vice president
  • Jacob Wood, Office of Management and Budget deputy communications director

All of the individuals violated the rule by using Twitter accounts designated for official business to tweet partisan material, including #MAGA and "Make America Great Again."

The bottom line: In comparison, the call to fire Conway is unprecedented in its tone and ultimate recommendation. In response to the report, the White House argued that the "actions against Kellyanne Conway are deeply flawed and violate her constitutional rights to free speech and due process."

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.

Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet nominations begin on Tuesday, with testimony from his picks to lead the departments of State, Homeland and Defense.

Why it matters: It's been a slow start for a process that usually takes place days or weeks earlier for incoming presidents. The first slate of nominees will appear on Tuesday before a Republican-controlled Senate, but that will change once the new Democratic senators-elect from Georgia are sworn in.

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