Democrats ask OSC to review whether Kushner violated Hatch Act

Democrats ask OSC to review whether Kushner violated Hatch Act
© Greg Nash

Two House Democrats on Monday asked a federal watchdog to investigate whether Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump officials mull plan to divert billions more to border wall: report California trip shows Trump doesn't always hate the media Trump's 'soldier of fortune' foreign policy MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE's son-in-law and senior White House adviser, violated a law prohibiting federal employees from engaging in political activity in their official duties.

Reps. Don Beyer (Va.) and Ted LieuTed W. LieuTed Lieu congratulates first Asian American cast member on 'Saturday Night Live' Ocasio-Cortez renews impeachment call amid probe involving Trump's Scotland property Oversight panel investigating Air Force crew's stop at Trump property in Scotland MORE (Calif.) accused Kushner of violating the statute, known as the Hatch Act, based on media reports that say Kushner has been engaging in campaign activity from the White House.


The lawmakers cited a New York Times report that Kushner recently organized a meeting at the White House residence with Trump campaign manager Brad ParscaleBradley (Brad) James ParscaleMORE, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDanielRonna Romney McDanielRNC reports record .5 million fundraising haul for August Trump targets Debra Messing after actress calls for exposing Hollywood donors Stacey Abrams responds to RNC chairwoman: 'Concession means to say that the process was fair' MORE, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOvernight Defense: Trump hits Iranian central bank with sanctions | Trump meeting with Ukrainian leader at UN | Trump touts relationship with North Korea's Kim as 'best thing' for US Trump says he's sanctioning Iran's national bank Lawmakers run into major speed bumps on spending bills MORE and "a group of big donors" to discuss the fundraising strategy for 2020.

They also pointed to media reports that Kushner has "multiple daily conversations" with Parscale and briefed senior staff during a White House staff meeting on Parscale's hiring.

"The stated purpose of the Hatch Act is to prevent federal civil servants from using their official authority to help elect candidates to office, and we have strong reason to believe that Jared Kushner is in violation of both the spirit and the letter of that Act," Beyer and Lieu wrote in a letter to Henry Kerner, the head of the independent Office of Special Counsel (OSC).

The request that the agency investigate Kushner comes after the OSC said last week that White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump George Conway: If Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate Biden, he 'should be impeached and removed from office' Obama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' MORE should be removed from her post for repeatedly violating the Hatch Act.

The OSC sent a report to Trump last week accusing Conway of breaking the law on multiple occasions “by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media."

“As a highly visible member of the administration, Ms. Conway’s violations, if left unpunished, would send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions,” Kerner wrote last week. “Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system — the rule of law.”

President Trump rejected the OSC's recommendation and said he will not fire Conway.

“No, I’m not going to fire her. I think she’s a terrific person,” Trump said during an interview on “Fox & Friends.”

Beyer and Lieu argued that Conway's violations meant that Kushner's actions warrant a closer look.

"The larger context of Trump Administration officials failing to comply, being previously reprimanded by OSC, and, in some cases, openly flouting Hatch Act requirements also argues against giving senior Administration officials benefit of the doubt when considering potential violations," they wrote.