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

The White House said on Tuesday that counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayPsaki defends move to oust Trump appointees from military academy boards Defense & National Security: The post-airlift evacuation struggle Conway and Spicer fire back at White House over board resignation requests 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. 

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"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 TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right 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 MooreRoy Moore loses lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen Shelby backs ex-aide over Trump-favored candidate in Alabama Senate race Of inmates and asylums: Today's House Republicans make the John Birchers look quaint 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 CummingsFormer GOP congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik suing Candace Owens for defamation Former Cummings staffer unveils congressional bid McCarthy, GOP face a delicate dance on Jan. 6 committee 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.