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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 KushnerLincoln Project attorney on billboards lawsuit threat: 'Please peddle your scare tactics elsewhere' Biden pushes back on Trump: 'Crass' to go after political rival's children Lawyers for Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner threaten to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought '9/11 attack was 7/11 attack' 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. LieuPelosi suggests Trump setting 'dangerous' example with quick return to White House The spin on Woodward's tapes reveals the hypocrisy of Democrats Larry Kudlow defends response to coronavirus: Trump 'led wisely' 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 McDanielSunday shows - Spotlight shifts to positive tests among Pence aides Republican National Committee chair warns of 'most progressive, radical takeover of our country' if Biden wins Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day MORE, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinPelosi dismisses talk of White House compromise on stimulus: They 'keep moving the goal post' Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day Hillicon Valley: Treasury sanctions Russian group accused of targeting critical facilities | Appeals court rules Uber, Lyft must comply with labor laws | Biden: Countries that target US elections will 'pay a price' 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 ConwayPence adviser Marty Obst tests positive for COVID-19 Documents show Trump campaign ignored coronavirus guidelines at Duluth rally: report Two Loeffler staffers test positive for COVID-19 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.