Jun 13, 2019

Federal watchdog recommends Kellyanne Conway be removed for Hatch Act violations

Kellyanne Conway. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Office of Special Counsel, a civil service watchdog, has determined that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway repeatedly violated the Hatch Act and recommended she be removed from the federal workforce.

Why it matters: The Hatch Act bars federal employees from engaging in political activity that could influence the results of an election while operating in their official capacity. The OSC determined that Conway violated the law by "disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in an official capacity during television interviews and on social media."

  • The House Oversight Committee announced that it would hold a hearing with the OSC on June 26 to review the allegations. Conway will be invited to attend.
  • "Trump should terminate Ms. Conway's employment immediately in light of these dozens of violations of federal law," Chairman Cummings said. "Allowing Ms. Conway to continue her position of trust at the W.H. would demonstrate that the President is not interested in following the law."

The other side: The White House called the OSC's report "deeply flawed" and "influenced by media pressure and liberal organizations," saying it would have "a chilling effect on free speech for all federal employees."

Worth noting: The OSC is not related to former special counsel Robert Mueller's office.

Read the full report:

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American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday, while Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 as of Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

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Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."