House Democrats voted on Wednesday to issue a summons to high-level White House adviser Kellyanne Conway for reducing some of the party's presidential candidates. Why not? It's not as if children are literally dying at the southern border.
Wait, yes, there is! The bodies of a Salvadoran father and child drowned on Monday after the couple attempted to cross the Rio Grande from Mexico. After touching land, they would surely have found a border official and applied for asylum, a gap in our laws that served as an incentive for anyone south of the border to sneak in for permanent residence. Democrats do not bother to worry about it, so they instead resent a government employee who infuriates them.
The Office of Special Counsel issued a letter to the White House earlier this month advising President Trump to fire Conway for criticizing Democrats on TV and social media, according to the Office of Special Counsel a violation of the 1
The Office of Special Counsel summarizes the intention of the law as follows: "Ensuring that federal programs are managed in a non-partisan manner, that federal employees are protected from political compulsion in the workplace and that federal employees are based on merit rather than political Affiliation put forward.
Conway did not violate any of these by mocking Senator Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, as a poor motivational speaker, as did former Obama official David Axelrod; or by accusing Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, of "appropriating someone else's inheritance" of what the Native Americans have already done; or by identifying Vermont's Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, both of whom are fighting for the Democratic nomination, as "two old politicians of white heterosexual men," which is factually undisputed.
I did not invent these examples by accident. You are literally in the letter from the Office of Special Counsel explaining the reasons for Conway's termination.
Clearly, the Hatch Act was not intended for the President's aides and assistants, essentially acting as an extension of the President himself or, at least, as the Office's agent. That's why White House staffers entitled Conway's Assistant to the President are granted immunity from forced statements before Congress. Jonathan Shaub, a former attorney-at-law, wrote to Lawfare in May that he "does not have to adhere to a summons from Congress to testify," citing an OLC legal opinion in 2014 that was valid up in the court system.  The law was instead intended for employees of the IRS, the State Department, the EPA or the Department of Education. These are the people for whom you do not want to openly promote a candidate in their official capacity. There are at least two examples of the secretaries of these departments doing exactly that under the Obama administration.
The Office of Special Counsel stated in 2012 that former Health and Social Affairs Minister Kathleen Sebelius violated the Hatch Act by stating at a public event: "It is extremely important to ensure that we re-elect the President and one elect Democratic governor. The agency similarly noted that the then Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro, who is now running for the Democratic President's nomination, violated the law in 2016 when he stated in a media interview that Hillary Clinton was "the most experienced and the most thoughtful and prepared presidential candidates we have this year.
Conway does not supervise a program or an agency. She works directly with the president and sometimes goes on television to defend his position, which by its nature should largely be in sync with the president himself. And he's free from the Hatch Act!
Although Conway was to overturn the summons and appear before House Democrats to testify, Trump has stated that he has no intention of dismissing them for answering questions in media interviews. A hearing would not change anything, though it could give Conway more time to spread the White House message.
Conway has not violated the law, and Democrats have no reason to say so. Do you really want to give her another platform to make fun of her 2020 candidates?