White House adviser Kellyanne Conway defied a congressional subpoena on Monday, failing to appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. In a letter written to committee chair Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the White House accused Congress of launching a “purely political campaign to harass the President and his close advisors.” The Committee issued the subpoena after an independent oversight group recommended Conway be removed from her post due to “repeated violations of the Hatch Act.” An overview of the Hatch Act:
The Hatch Act was passed on August 2, 1939, and outlawed any political action (e.g., campaigning, fundraising, rallying) by any employee of the executive branch, except for the President, Vice President, and certain other members of the executive. It also has provisions to ensure that federal funds cannot be used to campaign.
Cummings argued that his Committee had more than enough of a reason to subpoena Conway, due to the abundance of evidence presented by the government watchdogs. “This is a clear cut case. We are not requiring her to testify about advice she gave the President or about the White House Policy Decisions,” Cummings said. “This illegal activity [Hatch Act violations] - and the ongoing effort to cover it up - must not be allowed to stand.”
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