(PresidentialHill.com)- A Democratic member of the House Oversight Committee took a swipe at a former Trump administration official when he introduced a new amendment to an existing bill this week.
New York Representative Dan Goldman introduced what he’s calling the “Kellyanne Conway amendment,” which would add prison sentences to anyone who violated the Hatch Act.
During a Tuesday meeting of the committee, Goldman said:
“You know what Ms. Conway’s response to her serial violations of the Hatch Act were? She said, quote, ‘If you’re trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it’s not going to work. Let me know when the jail sentence starts.’
“Mr. Sessions said earlier today that the purpose of H.R. 140 is to try to stop anyone from using the White House for political purposes. And so in that vein, today, I’m offering the Kellyanne Conway amendment that will allow for prison sentences under criminal violations of the law for knowing and intentional violations of the Hatch Act.”
From 2017 through 2020, Conway was a special counselor to Trump. She now serves as a contributor to Fox News.
The bill, referred to as the Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act, was the center of discussions at Tuesday’s House Oversight Committee meeting. Goldman specifically took aim at the bill in putting forth the amendment.
He said it was necessary so that the government could “prevent the kind of blatant disregard for the law” that Conway and other Trump officials displayed. Goldman continued:
“The Hatch Act violations are a problem that needs a solution.”
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel issued a report in June 2019 that said Conway violated the Hatch Act “on numerous occasions by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.”
The report pointed out that both the president and vice president are exempt from the act, but other White House employees are not. The OSC labeled Conway as a “repeat offender” of the Hatch Act, further stating:
“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. Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system – the rule of law.”
The act in question is meant to prevent all federal employees who work in the executive branch and are classified as civil service from participating in what are termed certain political activities while they’re serving in their official government capacity.
In other words, these employees wouldn’t be able to campaign for a certain political candidate or speak down about another if they were holding a press briefing at the White House, for instance.
Conway apparently repeatedly violated the Hatch Act, according to the OSC, and she wasn’t shy about it. Since violating the act doesn’t result in any criminal penalties as currently written, she was more than willing to violate it, as she didn’t believe there were real consequences she’d have to face.