And it begins. According to reports, a watchdog group has called for the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) — not to be confused with the special counsel's office previously run by Robert Mueller — to investigate yet another White House staffer who has allegedly violated the Hatch Act. Trump staffer Kellyanne Conway has already been accused of allegedly breaking federal law, allegations which the White House called "deeply flawed." But did Ivanka Trump violate the Hatch Act? Here's what we know.
On Thursday, June 20, The Huffington Post reported that watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint to the OSC on Thursday, June 19, claiming that White House adviser Ivanka Trump has violated the Hatch Act by using her official government Twitter account "for partisan political purposes on several occasions," per the letter. For those who are unfamiliar, the Hatch Act prohibits government employees from taking part in political activities while in office, including publicly opposing or supporting candidates. However, this act does not apply to the president and vice president.
According to the group, Trump allegedly violated the act on Sunday, June 16, two days before her father, President Donald Trump, appeared in Orlando, Florida, to launch his 2020 reelection campaign. Trump shared a photo of her father standing above his "Make America Great Again" slogan, and the watchdog group noted her caption could be seen as endorsement. She wrote,
Four years ago today, I introduced my father @realDonaldTrump when he launched a Campaign that would forever change America. Because of his courage, Americans are safer and more prosperous... and the best is yet to come! Happy Father’s Day!
Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on the allegation and Trump's post, but did not hear back in time for publication.
The group also complained to the OSC that Trump retweeted two posts pertaining to President Trump's recent prison reform summit. Even though Trump notes on her Twitter biography that her account is "personal," the group believes her activity and retweets on the account violate the Hatch Act's requirements. The group wrote,
Based on this confluence of factors, Ms. Trump’s use of the @IvankaTrump account falls squarely within the purview of the Hatch Act, and she cannot use the account to make posts directed at the success or failure of a political party or candidate in a partisan race.
These allegations toward Trump come just one week after White House aide Kellyanne Conway was accused of the same offense. On June 13, the OSC sent a letter to President Trump stating Conway had violated the Hatch Act on "numerous occasions" and urged the president to remove her from office. According to the OSC's letter, the group claims Conway's public criticism of Democratic candidates on social media and during television interviews directly violates the Hatch Act. On June 13, White House Deputy Press Secretary Steven Groves emailed a statement to Elite Daily in regards to the allegations. The statement read,
The Office of Special Counsel’s (OSC) unprecedented actions against Kellyanne Conway are deeply flawed and violate her constitutional rights to free speech and due process. Others, of all political views, have objected to the OSC’s unclear and unevenly applied rules which have a chilling effect on free speech for all federal employees. Its decisions seem to be influenced by media pressure and liberal organizations — and perhaps OSC should be mindful of its own mandate to act in a fair, impartial, non-political manner, and not misinterpret or weaponize the Hatch Act.
Another day, another drama. As of now, Conway has yet to leave, or be removed from, her position at the White House. So, it's a waiting game to see if anything unfolds concerning her or Trump.