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 talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Trump: 'We already started' talks to get A$AP Rocky home from Sweden Kim Kardashian West thanks Trump, Kushner for helping efforts to free A$AP Rocky from Swedish jail MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller 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. LieuHere are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment House Democrat says he still gets told to 'go back' to China Ted Lieu: Trump a 'racist ass' 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.

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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 McDanielTrump campaign, RNC raise 8 million in second quarter Trump, RNC announce 5M raised in second quarter Fight night: Democrats set to take the stage for first debate MORE, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBudget talks between White House, Pelosi spill into weekend Conservative group raises concerns about potential budget deal How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade 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 ConwayFederal guidance identifying 'go back to where you came from' as discrimination goes viral after Trump comments Kellyanne Conway says she meant 'no disrespect' with question about reporter's ethnicity Kellyanne Conway asks reporter 'what's your ethnicity' while defending Trump's 'go back' comments about minority lawmakers 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.