To say “it’s her free speech” without referring to a legal opinion is to demonstrate a willful disregard for the rule of law.
To say “call me when it’s jail time” is contemptuous of all those who do still take the Act seriously. /2
The central thesis of the Trump presidency is that one political party is leading a coup against the Nation. And as such its actions are disingenuous in nature.
If this is the argument, then it should be made publicly and openly. /3
However, if this is not the route the President wants to go right now, he should accept the ruling of independent legal experts, headed by a Trump appointee. /4
Otherwise we have a situation where the opposing party, if elected, will do the exact same thing, and you may as well dismantle the Hatch Act and abandon the pretense of law altogether. /5
In response to those who say that the OSC is being partisan, I am reading the letter and this just is not true. /6
Henry Kerner is a Trump appointee. /7
Conway in effect stated she did not care what the law said. Do we now want all 2.1 million federal employees following her example? /8
Conway used her platform not to say that the opposing political party is undermining the rule of law, but to take cheap shots. /9
Her comments are not just partisan, but they are actually hyper-partisan. They are the actions of a campaign staffer. Which is fine, but she is subject to a different legal framework now. /10
Again, whether or not other people got away with it isn’t the issue. The issue is what’s happening in the here and now, and it will have a ripple effect on absolutely everything else. /11
1) The Hatch Act and @KellyannePolls
- picking up the discussion.
Part I is here.
2) Let's pick up some of the stray tweets that were outside the thread but belong here. #1 the Hatch Act matters, and #QAnon says that he/she/they have not violated it. A FOIA would substantiate this claim - the WH counsel had to answer for them.
3) #2 actually takes us into the interesting territory of "who is Q," because how could the WH counsel answer that question definitively unless they know who Q is.
6) The issue is that we have to enforce the law. That is what we are fighting for. This is the meaning of "Drain the Swamp."
7) There are a lot of opinions flying around about whether the head of the OSC is biased or not. He may be biased. That's not the issue. The issue is whether her behavior passes the "reasonable man" test.
8) If we look at the letter, it does not.
9) Primarily Conway's behavior falls into two problematic areas. The first is the repeated partisan behavior on the job and the second is the fuck-you attitude.
10) To be clear, the Hatch Act applies to all federal employees, whether they are political appointees or career civil servants; whether they are members of the Senior Executive Service or not.
11) To the question of exceptions - "Certain executive officials, such as presidential advisers or cabinet officers, can engage in political activities during official working time as long as federal funds are not used." But --
12) "Any such official must reimburse the U.S. Treasury for federal resources used in campaign activities."
13) If Conway fell under that exception surely the OSC would not have wasted its time or WH counsel would have argued this on her behalf.
14) Federal employees are often confused about their rights and restrictions under the Hatch Act. Here is one good table from the Department of the Interior.
15) (Actually that's three tables.)
16) As a manager I find Conway's attitude troubling. She has a conduct issue.
In the Federal government employees with conduct issues are easier to fire than those with performance issues.
17) By deliberately flouting the law, Conway is forcing President Trump into a very difficult position. An untenable one. It is compromising for him, and as such she poses a national security risk.
18) If President Trump continues to back Conway (saying she exercised "free speech" is not a real answer and he knows it), he is in effect saying that he can lie, cheat and steal with impunity and his moral advantage over Hillary Clinton and her ilk disappears.
19) The communications person is not supposed to be in the spotlight. The leader is supposed to be in the spotlight. This is a distraction that is not a day in the making, or a week in the making, but months and maybe years in the making.
20) There has been a lot of fuss about Conway's husband and his opinions. I rather like that he can express himself without causing her problems at work. That is free speech and it's the reality for many of us, including me.
21) Sarah Sanders and other Trump and Obama officials were also accused of violating the Hatch Act.
I personally think it should be waived for political appointees, for obvious reasons. But it isn't and we have to at least understand that.
22) If you take the position that everything the President does is perfect, you are assigning him godlike status which is worshiping idols. It's cultlike, and it's not what America is about.
23)To give you a sense of how serious this is, the United States has just accused Iran of a very serious action - attacking two tankers, claiming to have released evidence - and Iran has a different story.
We must have credibility!
24) Nobody trusts anybody right now. Everything is a "false flag," a manipulation, a "deep fake." It's a very dangerous situation.
25) Many of us are frustrated that the Administration has not been more forthcoming with mass arrests, etc. We keep on hearing that we should wait.
I have come to think that the President is trying to stall until the election so that he can act in the 2nd term.
26) I do not think that the President's strategy of stalling is going to work though. The tensions are too high.
27) To be very specific, the President has for years invoked the Deep State as the reason why he does what he does. And those who support him (including me) have advocated for a very careful approach because these people MANIPULATE the law to their advantage.
28) This seemingly small misstep with Conway has the potential - because it is a misstep - to completely equivocate all of the dirty deeds of the swamp. They will say: "Emails? Who cares about emails? Look how the President acts the dictator for his favored pals!"
29) I am a communicator, many of us here are DC dwellers, we know that shit happens, and that life is just not predictable. I am urging the President to please recognize that this stalwart defense of Conway is a mistake, and to release her from duty into the private sector.
All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain.