The Hatch Act of 1939 was signed into legislation by a reluctant FDR as a legislative remedy for a political and partisan problem with FDR’s Works Progress Administration – it’s employees to be precise – in local or state or senate elections. Employees of the WPA were accused of campaigning for FDR’s favorites in campaigns. So the fact that the WPA (it was renamed the Works Projects Administration in the same year the Hatch Act was passed: 1939) was the administration’s public works jewel-in-the-crown (if you take a progressive viewpoint) and employed millions and doled out huge amounts of money and jobs, made it a perfect vehicle for campaigning by the administration.

Now, here’s the fussy point, because we’re talking about whether Kellyanne Conway did or didn’t violate the Hatch Act. If senior FDR (or any) administration officials wanted (or want) to use a specific project as backdrop for a campaign that is not prohibited by the Hatch Act. What is prohibited is lower-level government employees actively campaigning for any given candidate. In other words, federal employees and some state and local employees are the target of the Act’s restrictions, and only on certain political activities.

Senior administration officials who are involved in policy decisions are exempt.

Was Kellyanne Conway targeted because the Office of Special Counsel felt she was just ever-so-slightly low enough on the totem pole that they could stick a charge of a Hatch Act violation on her forehead and see if it could stick? She’s not a Cabinet level official, we can go for her!

Because this is really a symbolic poke in the eye of the President by the OSC. Who decides Kellyanne Conway’s fate according to the Hatch Act?? Uh … the President does. And either an official reprimand by the President or a fine of up to $1,000 are the penalties generally available; if the President sees fit to apply them.

Give me a break.

Who filed the complaints that led to the OPS determination regarding Conway’s two televised interviews on the Roy Moore v Doug Jones Alabama election last December? Why former Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub who called her interviews a “slam dunk” violation back then.

Now Democrat politicians like Elijah Cummings are demanding Trump deliver “swift and serious” punishment . Which he won’t. Which Democrats know perfectly well because Conway’s case is at best a borderline fussy finagling interpretation of what in fact does (or doesn’t) constitute a partisan display on the part of a federal employee during an election. It’s part of Conway’s JOB to go on TV and talk about those sorts of things.

Accusing Conway of violating the Hatch Act in a town populated by federal employees leaking classified information in order to disrupt and even sabotage the Trump administration is an ostentatiously blatant exercise in partisan hypocrisy.

So Trump’s rightfully refusing to punish Conway will then be used to talk about the “corruption” in the White House. Even FDR would roll over in his grave.

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