Office opens case file into accusation that Conway broke the law

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is opening a case file to address allegations that White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayWatchdog: First lady spokeswoman may have violated Hatch Act with ‘MAGA’ tweet Bartender cursed at Stephen Miller as he picked up takeout sushi: Washington Post Conway retweets vice president fan account criticizing CNN reporter MORE violated federal law when she made comments about GOP Senate candidate Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreRoby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism Once a Trump critic, Ala. rep faces runoff with his support Doug Jones walks tightrope on Supreme Court nominee MORE's Democratic challenger.

Walter ShaubWalter Michael ShaubEx-White House ethics chief: Sarah Sanders tweet violates ethics laws Ex-ethics chief: Melania Trump's visit to migrant shelter a 'flim flam con job' State Dept's Facebook event on 'traveling with kids' wins scorn amid border crisis MORE, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel last week alleging that Conway violated the Hatch Act, a decades-old law prohibiting federal employees from using their offices to campaign for or against political candidates.

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In an email sent to Shaub on Tuesday, Ana Galindo-Marrone, the chief of the Office of Special Counsel's Hatch Act Unit, said that the office had opened a case file on the matter, as is the standard practice for such complaints.

"We have received your Hatch Act complaint and will open a case file to address this matter," she wrote. 

During an appearance on Fox News last week, Conway blasted Democrat Doug Jones, whose challenging Moore in Alabama's Senate special election, saying that he's "weak on borders" and "weak on crime."

"I just want everybody to know Doug Jones, nobody ever says his name and they pretend that he’s some kind of conservative Democrat in Alabama and he’s not," she said.

Shaub, who resigned from the OGE in July, quickly slammed Conway's comments, accusing her of violating the Hatch Act by appearing in her official capacity when she made the remarks about Jones. Conway was interviewed with the White House in the background.

The White House defended Conway, denying that her comments amounted to support either for Moore or against Jones.

“Ms. Conway did not advocate for or against the election of a candidate, and specifically declined to encourage Alabamans to vote a certain way," Raj Shah, the White House principal deputy press secretary, said in a statement.

"She was speaking about issues and her support for the President’s agenda. This election is for the people of Alabama to decide.”