Democrats are all up in arms over Kellyanne Conway’s comments endorsing the clothing products of Ivanka Trump during a recent interview. Conway, President Donald Trump’s Chief Legal Counselor, is being accused of ethics violations and some are even suggesting that she lose her job.
During an interview for Fox News, the subject came up about Nordstrom Department stores dropping the clothing and accessory line of products belonging to Ivanka Trump and President Trump’s harsh criticism claiming Ivanka was being treated unfairly. Conway, responded but looking at the television camera and saying:
“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would tell you. It’s a wonderful line. I own some of it. I fully — I’m going to just, I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”
The problem lies with a federal law that forbids federal employees from saying or doing anything that could be taken as an:
“…endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.”
Both Democrats and more liberal Republicans are blasting Conway and Trump over her remarks and want her to be disciplined more than just being ‘counselled’ as White House spokesman Sean Spicer spoke of.
On one of the national news networks’ television news, they quoted some as saying that what Conway did ‘raised extremely serious concerns’ and that it warrants ‘appropriate disciplinary action…”
Chris Lu, went so far as to suggest that Conway should lose her job for this egregious ethics violation. Lu is a liberal Democrat who served first as Obama’s White House Cabinet Secretary and then as Obama’s Deputy Secretary of Labor.
Interviewed by a media outlet, Lu stated:
“Had this happened under the Obama administration, I’m fairly sure strong action would have been taken including removing that person from office.”
Oh really? Talk about liberal Democrat hypocrisy.
Two of Obama’s Cabinet members violated the federal Hatch Act which could have and should have resulted in harsh and severe discipline including termination from their jobs.
In 1939, the Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities was passed by Congress and became federal law. The act prohibits federal employees from being involved or holding membership in any political organization which advocates the overthrow of the constitutional form of government. (Say, isn’t that what the Democratic Party has been doing with the help of Barack Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder?)
The main aspect of the Act, later called the Hatch Act after New Mexico Senator Carl Hatch, is to prohibit federal civil servant employees in the executive branch from taking part in partisan political activity. It also forbids them from participating in political campaign activities and from intimidating or bribing voters. They are also not allowed to use public funds for political campaign purposes.
In February 2012, Kathleen Sebelius, then Secretary of Health and Human services, attended a taxpayer funded campaign event in North Carolina. While participating in the event, Sebelius publicly endorsed Obama’s bid for re-election along with Walter Dalton’s bid for re-election as Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina.
According to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, (OSC), Sebelius violated the Hatch Act on more than one account. The OSC also states that an:
“Employee who violates the Hatch Act shall be removed from their position, and funds appropriated for the position from which removed thereafter may not be used to pay the employee or individual.”
There is a provision that offers an alternative to termination for violations of the Hatch Act. Those federal employees that aren’t appointed to their position by the president or approved by the Senate can be given a punishment that allows them to retain their position if:
“The Merit Systems Protection Board finds by unanimous vote that the violation does not warrant removal, a penalty of not less than a 30-day suspension without pay shall be imposed by direction of the board.”
But, Sebelius is a presidential appointee that was confirmed by the Senate, so she is not eligible for review by the Merit Systems Protection Board. President Obama has been informed by Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner that Secretary Sebelius:
“Violated the Hatch Act by making extemporaneous political remarks in a speech delivered in her official capacity.”
“The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from using their official authority or influence to affect the outcome of an election. A federal employee is permitted to make partisan remarks when speaking in their personal capacity, but not when using an official title or when speaking about agency business.”
“Secretary Sebelius and the Department of Health and Human Services reimbursed the U.S. government for all costs and expenses associated with her travel to the February 25, 2012, event. HHS subsequently reclassified the trip from official to political and issued a statement to that effect. OSC found no evidence that Secretary Sebelius made any other political statements in her official capacity.”
In October 2012, Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, appeared at a campaign event being held for Barack Obama in Montrose County, Colorado.
At the event, he was introduced as Secretary of the Interior before he told the audience:
“I am here to represent Barack Obama and to tell you he needs Montrose County this November. The truth is Colorado is right in the spotlight of the nation and the world in this election.”
A former associate counsel to President George Bush, Scott Coffina commented on Salazar’s violation, telling The Daily Caller:
“The violation is the use of his title in a political setting. You’re not allowed to use your official title or influence to affect the outcome of an election.”
“Technically they would both be subject to termination for what are very different violations, because the way the law is set up, the presumptive penalty is termination. I’m not saying that’s fair, but that’s the law.”
Americans for Prosperity in Colorado Deputy Director Sean Paige also commented on Salazar’s indiscretion saying:
“There seems to be a double standard, where if you’re just a run-of-the-mill government worker and you get caught politicizing the job, you get fired, but if you’re a Cabinet-level official and your boss is in a tight election, anything goes.”
Yet, nothing was ever made public about the two serious ethic infractions. None of the mainstream liberal media aired anything about the violations, unlike the constant barrage they are using to discredit Conway and Trump. Worse yet, nothing was ever done to either Obama Cabinet member in relation to their violation of the Hatch Act. Neither received any form of discipline. They both kept their jobs, their pay and never missed a day.
Lu needs to answer the question of why do calls to punish for ethics violations only apply to Trump’s people (Conway) and not to Obama’s (Sebelius and Salazar)?