- The Washington Times - Monday, July 15, 2019

House Democrats may hold presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway in contempt after she refused to appear to testify about her alleged violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from politicking while on the job.

Ms. Conway is required to be here today to address her multiple violations of federal law, many of which occurred on national television,” Chairman Elijah Cummings said.

The Maryland Democrat said that his committee will meet on July 25 for a potential contempt vote.

“If she does not change course, we have no choice but to hold her accountable,” Mr. Cummings said.

Ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan said the alleged violations were unprecedented and the hearing was “pure politics.” He argued it is part of Ms. Conway’s job to talk about politics of the day.

“They targeted her because she’s effective,” he said. “She has every right to share her opinions.”

In June, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the government’s chief ethics group, determined that Ms. Conway was a “repeat offender” of the Hatch Act and recommended President Trump fire her.

The Oversight committee issued for a subpoena for Ms. Conway back in June, when she also failed to appear voluntarily before lawmakers.

The administration argued Ms. Conway could not be compelled to testify as she’s an adviser to the president, but Mr. Cummings said her testimony has nothing to do with her professional duties.

“We are not requiring her to testify about advice she gave the president or about the White House’s policy decisions,” he said.

Ms. Conway, one of the most prominent figures in the Trump administration, often spars with political opponents online or in interviews, which Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner said has made her one of the worst offenders of the law.

Ms. Conway has defended her comments as free speech and dismissed the OSC’s report as a biased attack.

“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,” she told reporters in May.

If the committees votes to hold Ms. Conway in contempt, she would be the fourth Trump official to face that charge, along with former White House Counsel Don McGahn, Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Mr. Barr and Mr. Ross also face a vote later this week on criminal contempt for the administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census .

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