As House Democrats continue to their effort to bring the rule of law back to Washington, the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday voted to subpoena White House counselor Kellyanne Conway after she did not appear voluntarily at a hearing focused on her repeated violations of federal law.
The committee voted 25-16 to compel Conway’s testimony following roughly 30 minutes of arguments over the validity of the Office of Special Counsel’s (OSC) findings that she repeatedly violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal officials from weighing in on elections in their government capacity.
Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) was the lone Republican to side with Democrats to authorize the subpoena.
President Trump defended Conway by claiming that the report violated Conway’s free speech rights, while Conway has suggested the law does not apply to her.
The White House blocked Conway from appearing for public testimony before the committee Wednesday, prompting Democrats to issue a subpoena.
“There are rarely issues that come before our committee that are so clear-cut, but this is one of them,” committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said in opening remarks. “This is about right and wrong. This is about the core principle of our precious democracy, that nobody, not one person, nobody in this country is above the law.”
Cummings called the White House’s reasoning for blocking Conway’s testimony “baseless,” noting the committee was not seeking information on private conversations involving the president.
The OSC sent a report to President Trump earlier in June stating that Conway repeatedly violated the Hatch Act. The office previously found her in violation for her comments on a 2017 special U.S. Senate election in Alabama, and more recently found she violated the law with comments about 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.
The June report also noted Conway’s public indifference toward the violations.
Henry Kerner, the head of the OSC testified Wednesday that Conway’s conduct “created an unprecedented challenge to OSC’s ability to enforce the Hatch Act.
Kerner, a Trump appointee who described himself as a “conservative Republican,” testified that Conway’s conduct “sent a false message to other federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act, or that senior officials are above the law. “I’m here to emphatically say that’s not the case.”
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