Alan Kabat Contributes to Law360 with Article Discussing the Hatch Act
On March 21, 2018, Alan Kabat, partner at Bernabei & Kabat, PLLC, contributed to Law360. Mr. Kabat’s insightful article discusses Kellyanne Conway’s two separate blunders in November and December 2017 in which Conway violated the Hatch Act when speaking with cable news networks in regards to President Donald Trump’s support of Judge Roy Moore in Alabama’s U.S. Senate special election. In these interviews, Conway appeared on the White House lawn in her official capacity as counselor to the president.
Mr. Kabat notes, that had Conway been one of the vast majority of federal employees, “the Office of Special Counsel has the authority to file a complaint against the offender in the Merit Systems Protections Board (MSPB), which then holds a hearing and issues a final order that can penalize the employee through ordering his ‘removal, reduction in grade, debarment from federal employment for a period not to exceed five years, suspension, reprimand or an assessment of a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000.'” However, high-level White House employees, such as Conway, are protected by a statute that protects employees who have “a confidential, policy-making, policy-determining or policy-advocating position[s] appointed by the president.” Therefore, instead of filing a complaint with the MSPB, the OSC simply referred the case to the president.
Mr. Kabat concludes:
“Thus, even though Conway is likely to receive only a slap on the wrist, she brought national attention to the Hatch Act, and made it more likely that other federal employees who were not appointed by the president will be reported to the OSC for Hatch Act investigations and referred to the MSPB, which will order a suspension or removal.”
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