White House pushes back: Conway did not violate the Hatch Act

The White House said on Tuesday that counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayTrump to release opioid plan Monday that includes death penalty Kellyanne Conway tells Clinton to ‘stop pretending you’re a feminist’ Setting the record straight on charities and political speech MORE did not violate the Hatch Act after the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) told the Trump administration she was found in violation.

"Kellyanne Conway did not advocate for or against the election of any particular candidate. She simply expressed the president's obvious position that he have people in the House and Senate, who support his agenda," deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. 


"In fact, Kellyanne's statements actually show her intention and desire to comply with the Hatch Act — as she twice declined to respond to the host's specific invitation to encourage Alabamans to vote for the Republican," he continued referencing an interview Conway did on Fox News.

The OSC found that Conway violated the Hatch Act on two occasions and referred its findings to President TrumpDonald John TrumpLieu: There will be 'widespread civil unrest' if Trump fires Mueller Attorneys for Trump, Mueller hold face-to-face meeting to discuss potential interview topics: report Trump tariffs not helpful for nuclear talks, South Korea says MORE "for appropriate disciplinary action."

The Hatch Act prohibits those working in the executive branch from using their official capacities to advocate for or against political candidates.

The OSC said the violations took place during two 2017 television appearances on the Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" and on CNN's "New Day" in which she was discussing the Alabama Senate race.

Conway on "Fox and Friends" ripped then-Democratic nominee Doug Jones as "weak on crime" and "weak on borders," before declining to specifically endorse Republican candidate Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreRomney officially files to run for Senate DNC chair: RNC might outraise us but ‘they’re morally bankrupt’ Setting the record straight on charities and political speech MORE when asked.

“So, vote Roy Moore?” Fox host Brian Kilmeade interjected.

“I’m telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through,” Conway responded referring to the tax-reform bill that ended up being passed and signed into law.

Conway went even further on CNN, saying President Trump "doesn't want a liberal Democrat representing Alabama" in the Senate.

Democrats seized on the news on Tuesday.

House Oversight Committee ranking member Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCoherent strategy needed beyond limited sanctions to counter Russian aggression House Oversight Dems: GOP blocking request for Trump admin records Dems accuse Trump officials of seeking State Department purge MORE (D-Md.) said the administration should punish Conway.

“The President must take swift and serious disciplinary action against Ms. Conway. Anything else sets a terrible example," Cummings said.