Cummings Issues Statement After OSC Recommends That President Trump Remove Kellyanne Conway for Dozens of Hatch Act Violations
Washington, D.C. (June 13, 2019)— Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, announced that he will hold a hearing with the Office of Special Counsel after it recommended that President Donald Trump remove Kellyanne Conway from her position at the White House for at least 25 separate violations of the Hatch Act. Chairman Cummings issued the following statement:
“Complying with the law is not optional. President Trump should terminate Ms. Conway’s employment immediately in light of these dozens of violations of federal law. Allowing Ms. Conway to continue her position of trust at the White House would demonstrate that the President is not interested in following the law—or requiring his closest aides to do so.
“The Oversight Committee has had multiple concerns about Ms. Conway for the past two years. In addition to brazenly flouting the Hatch Act, the White House has refused to produce a single document requested by the Committee about Ms. Conway’s abusive trips on private jets and her refusal to reimburse the American taxpayers. In addition, the White House has not provided any information about Ms. Conway’s role in the White House’s failure to issue a legally-required national drug control strategy for two years, and Republicans refused to even seek a briefing about her actions.
“As a result, today I am announcing a hearing on June 26, 2019, with the Office of Special Counsel to hear about its findings and recommendation, and we will be inviting Ms. Conway to answer for her violations.”
The White House has been withholding information about Ms. Conway from the Committee for more than two years.
Previous Ethics Violation
On March 9, 2017, the Office of Government Ethics responded to a letter from then-Ranking Member Cummings and then-Chairman Jason Chaffetz explaining that on February 13, 2017, the Office recommended that the White House take disciplinary action against Conway for her statements on national television directly promoting President Trump’s daughter’s private business. The President took no action against Conway.
Previous Hatch Act Violations
On March 6, 2018, the Office of Special Counsel recommended that President Trump discipline Ms. Conway for two separate Hatch Act violations. Again, the President took no action.
Abusive Travel on Private Jets
On October 4, 2017, then-Ranking Member Cummings sent a letter to Conway requesting information about her squandering of tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars by traveling around the country on private jets, including flights she took with former Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
President Trump reportedly became so upset by these abuses that he fired Price. Although Price refunded nearly $60,000 to the Treasury for his participation, Conway refused to provide any documents relating to her role, she refused to reimburse the American taxpayers, and President Trump took no action against her.
On December 19, 2018, Cummings sent a letter to then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly requesting information about Ms. Conway’s trips. The White House has not provided a single page in response.
Role in Failed Opioids Response
In 2017, the Trump Administration announced that Conway was the point person to “coordinate and lead the effort from the White House” to organize the Administration’s response to the opioid crisis. Yet, in both 2017 and 2018, the White House had no drug control strategy at all—even though it is required by law.
On February 16, 2018, then-Ranking Member Cummings requested then-Chairman Trey Gowdy obtain a briefing from Conway on the status of the Trump Administration’s efforts to implement the recommendations of the President’s Opioid Commission. Gowdy declined.
On March 7, 2019, the Committee convened a hearing to examine the National Drug Control Strategy finally issued in January 2019 by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). The Government Accountability Office testified that the drug strategy still does not comply with applicable legal requirements.
Failure to Divest Assets
In addition, on May 9, 2017, then-Ranking Member Cummings sent a letter to Brett Loyd, the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Polling Company, Inc./WomanTrend, requesting information about the ongoing relationship between Ms. Conway and the company, which Conway founded in 1995.
The White House claimed that Ms. Conway was “in the process of divesting her assets,” but the Office of Government Ethics reported they were not aware of any recusal by Conway. To date, Conway has not produced any documents or information in response to Cummings’ request.