Hatch Act: A Law You Can Ignore? 🤷
Conway in violation
The US Office of Special Council (OSC), an independent government agency, issued a report last Thursday that recommended the firing of presidential aide Kellyanne Conway for “persistent, notorious and deliberate Hatch Act violations.” The Hatch Act prohibits most federal employees from engaging in some forms of political activity.
Response and implications
Trump responded by saying “No, I’m not going to fire her… I think she’s a terrific person, a tremendous spokesperson. She’s been loyal…I think you’re entitled to free speech in this country.” Others believe that by choosing not to fire nor discipline her, Trump is degrading the rule of law.
The right doesn’t take a position on Conway’s behavior, rather choosing to deflect the story to focus on former HUD Secretary Julian Castro’s own Hatch Act violation during the Obama administration. In so doing, the right paints Castro as a hypocrite without acknowledging the cited wrongdoing of Conway by OSC.
The left strongly believes that Conway should either resign or be fired by President Trump, using strong language such as “relentless” to emphasize their stance. Further, the left uses Trump’s refusal to fire Conway as an example of how they believe he is eroding the rule of law in the US.
As the Hatch Act applies to all federal employees and there have been cited violations by both Democrats and Republicans, we need to decide if the substance of the law is worth reconsidering. If not, then it’s fair to apply it evenly to all federal employees, regardless of seniority or influence.
Ultimate rule breaker
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