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 KushnerOvernight Defense: Families sue over safety hazards at Army base | Lawmakers, NBA's Enes Kanter speak out ahead of Erdoğan visit | Washington braces for public impeachment hearings Bolton suggests Trump's Turkey policy motivated by personal, financial interest: NBC In new North Korea talks, 'achievable' is the watchword MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report 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. LieuWyden urges FCC to secure 5G networks against cyber threats Democrat hits White House spokeswoman after Trump appointee changes testimony PETA asks DOJ to stop conducting training that harms animals 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 McDanielPaul dismisses Bevin loss, touts 'red wave' in other Kentucky races Trump and his allies downplay GOP loss in Kentucky governor's race GOP senators frustrated with Romney jabs at Trump MORE, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinNew book questions Harris's record on big banks On The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of 'opportunity zones' | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Democrats ramp up oversight efforts over 'opportunity zone' incentive 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 ConwayVaping advocates feel confident Trump will turn from flavor ban Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Krystal Ball praises former McConnell aide's historic win in Kentucky 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.