Petition Urging Trump to Fire White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway Picks Up Steam After Hatch Act Violations

Citing repeated violations of ethics laws, a prominent Washington ethics watchdog on Friday launched a pressure campaign and petition aimed at booting Kellyanne Conway from her role as White House counselor.

Conway's "egregious violations, and her expressed disdain for the law, make clear that her removal is necessary to preserve the rule of law," reads the petition from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a nonpartisan nonprofit that has launched numerous complaints against the Trump administration.

The petition argues that Conway "must not be allowed to continue using her official role to attack the President's political opponents and to show an open disdain for federal law without consequences."

The campaign was launched after an official federal watchdog recommended that Conway be removed from her post, citing violations of The Hatch Act, a 1939 law that bars almost all Executive branch employees—except the president and vice president—from campaigning while serving in an official capacity or "interfering with, or affecting, the result of an election or a nomination for office."

The report from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC)—not to be confused with Special Counsel Robert Mueller—outlined numerous instances in which Conway appeared to violate the law while making appearances on cable news.

On November 20, 2017, Conway appeared on Fox & Friends and discussed why Democrat Doug Jones, then a candidate for an Alabama U.S. Senate seat, should not be elected to office. On December 6, 2017, she appeared on CNN and gave an endorsement to Jones' opponent Roy Moore, who faced allegations of improperly touching young women and teens. (Moore has denied the allegations.)

"Ms. Conway's violations, if left unpunished, would send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act's restrictions," the report from the OSC stated. "Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system — the rule of law."

The CREW petition, which had racked up more than 6,000 signatures by Saturday afternoon, is largely a symbolic effort. Ultimately, President Donald Trump must decide whether to remove Conway from her post and, so far, he has refused the recommendation.

"No, I'm not going to fire her," Trump told Fox News this week, when asked about the issue. "I think she's a terrific person."

It's not the first time Conway, who joined the Trump campaign in 2016, has been accused of flouting ethics rules. The White House aide first came under ethics scrutiny in 2017 when she publicly endorsed Ivanka Trump's clothing brand. What's more, her habit of releasing misinformation during cable news appearances has prompted some critics to blacklist her from shows, including the hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe.

"Never has [the Office of Special Counsel] had to issue multiple reports to the president concerning Hatch Act violations by the same individual," wrote Special counsel Henry Kerner in a letter accompanying the report. "OSC respectfully requests that Mrs. Conway be held to the same standards as all other federal employees and, as such, you find removal from federal service to be the appropriate disciplinary action."

Conway, meanwhile, has yet to comment or acknowledge Kerner's findings.

: Counselor to President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway talks to reporters outside the White House May 01, 2019 in Washington, DC. Conway was interviewed at the same time that U.S. Attorney General William Barr was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about special counsel Robert Muller's report. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images