PowerLine -> Kellyanne Conway and the Hatch Act

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PowerLine -> Kellyanne Conway and the Hatch Act

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  • Kellyanne Conway and the Hatch Act
  • Bill Bennett and Me
  • Oberlin Hunkers Down
  • From the mixed-up files of Ilhan Omar (6)
  • From the mixed-up files of Ilhan Omar (5)

Kellyanne Conway and the Hatch Act

Posted: 14 Jun 2019 04:13 PM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

Presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway stands accused of violating the Hatch Act. The alleged violations consist mostly of comments Conway made on various news shows disparaging certain Democratic candidates such as Joe Biden, Cory Booker, and Elizabeth Warren.

I very much doubt that the Hatch Act was intended to bar the president’s political advisers from criticizing potential opponents. The Office of Special Counsel (not to be confused with Robert Mueller’s former shop) is the outfit that found Conway guilty of Hatch Act violations and said she should be removed from her job. It describes the purposes of the Act as “to ensure that federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, to protect federal employees from political coercion in the workplace, and to ensure that federal employees are advanced based on merit and not based on political affiliation.”

Conway is not involved in administering federal programs. Her punditry does not in any way coerce federal employees in the workplace. And it has no bearing on which federal employees will advance.

One of Conway’s important duties is to do media appearances, a demand not placed on presidential advisers in the entirely different media environment of 1939 when the Hatch Act was passed. The notion that during such interviews she can’t talk candidly about the likes of Joe Biden and Cory Booker is goofy. Democracy would be ill-served by such a bar.

A few weeks ago, in response to questions about the Hatch Act implications of her comments, Conway stated: “blah, blah, blah.” President Trump’s response to calls that he fire Conway should be just as dismissive.

Bill Bennett and Me

Posted: 14 Jun 2019 02:57 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)

Bill Bennett is a great American. He retired from the daily radio grind a few years ago, but he is now doing an excellent podcast, produced by our friends at Ricochet, on which I have occasionally been a guest. I did Bill’s most recent podcast, which came out on Tuesday. We talked about President Trump’s visit to the U.K., recent revelations about Martin Luther King, Russiagate, and more. You can listen to it here. If you are a podcast listener and aren’t already subscribing to Bill’s, you should consider doing so.

Oberlin Hunkers Down

Posted: 14 Jun 2019 08:59 AM PDT

(John Hinderaker)

This is a screen shot of Oberlin’s Twitter account. I assume that the account has been taken private within the last few days as a result of reaction Oberlin was getting to the jury verdicts against it in the Gibson’s case. Click to enlarge:

There is a certain irony in the text: “Think one person can change the world? So do we. Maintained by the Oberlin College Office of Communications.” Perhaps the one person was Allyn Gibson. And for the moment, at least, Oberlin’s Office of Communications appears to be out of the communications business.

From the mixed-up files of Ilhan Omar (6)

Posted: 14 Jun 2019 08:43 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

We continue posting items of interest from the Minnesota campaign finance board investigation of Ilhan Omar’s 2016 state legislative campaign. The board investigation coincidentally revealed that Omar had filed joint tax returns in 2014 and 2015 with a man to whom she was not married while legally married to another man. It is my goal to get some help in pulling on the threads that will unravel the story we have been pursuing since 2016, where Omar’s campaign finance wrongdoing began as she sought to deal with coverage of her curious case. Omar defrayed the cost of redoing her 2014 and 2015 tax returns with campaign funds.

Carla Kjellberg was a key witness in the campaign finance investigation. I have posted the transcript of her deposition below via Scribd. I have also posted the deposition exhibits here on Sribd. Kjellberg is an attorney and Omar supporter who served on Omar’s crisis committee. Reading the deposition, one can see that Kjellberg had a “you’ve got to be kidding me” moment regarding the tax returns. Her testimony is shrouded in vagueness, but the picture nevertheless comes into focus.

The tax returns, she explains, were definitely related to the campaign’s public relations crisis (pages 21-22). What was it? She testified that the tax returns “would have been something discovered ancillary to the allegation that her current marriage [to Ahmed Hirsi, husband number 1], was not legal, or not — what’s the word I want — not recognized by the state or the federal government, and that she was still married to someone else [i.e., Ahmed Elmi, husband number 2]” (page 23). Further, “That — this was correcting something that could have been detrimental to Ms. Omar.”

Here Kjellberg describes “the threat” with which the crisis committee was dealing (page 30):

The threat is that a right-wing blog [i.e., Power Line] begins a false narrative based on racial assumptions that could affect Ilhan’s election and Ilhan’s standing [Ed.: this is a complete and utter crock]. The legitimate media then runs with that right-wing blog and it gains legitimacy.

That legitimacy fell drastically once [United States Attorney] Andy Luger said that’s false [by letter dated August 22, 2016]. The danger of something being said again in the right-wing blog with anything is still present. I mean, it’s still present today.

So when I previously testified that it was over when Andy Luger made the statement, what I meant was, that sense of the world is falling apart, we need to do something immediately, had lessened greatly.

Andy Luger’s August 22 letter, as it turned out, was the crisis committee’s ace in the hole. Refuting an allegation we never made — that Omar’s immigration status was under investigation — the Omar crisis team put the story of her sham marriage to husband number 2 to rest, thus demonstrating in its own way the value of friends in high places in law enforcement as well as at the Star Tribune. We will turn to Luger’s letter in a subsequent installment of this series.

FOR THE BACKGROUND TO THIS SHORT SERIES, see “From the mixed-up files of Rep. Ilhan Omar.”

65_Carla Kjellberg Depo by on Scribd

From the mixed-up files of Ilhan Omar (5)

Posted: 14 Jun 2019 07:56 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

It has now been a week since the Minnesota campaign finance board released its incendiary findings in the matter of Ilhan Omar’s 2016 campaign for the state house. The Star Tribune has published one story noting the board’s findings that Omar filed joint tax returns in 2014 and 205 with a man to whom she was not married while she was legally married to another man. Over what period of years did Omar do so? The Star Tribune hasn’t asked and Omar isn’t talking, but her refusal to respond to the Star Tribune on this point would be a story all by itself. Indeed, If Omar were a Republican, you can bet it would be.

Minnesota Public Radio has posted a brief reviewof the campaign finance board file in the case of Ilhan Omar. Is it possible to embarrass the Star Tribune into digging into it? John Hinderaker and I have been debating the question. Today Stephen Montemayor offers a progress report in the Star Tribune’s Morning Hot Dish email newsletter:

We’re examining documents from the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board’s probe into U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s improper expenses from her time as a state lawmaker. The board revealed last week that Omar filed joint tax returns in 2014 and 2015 with her husband before they were legally married. The freshman congresswoman has not made the returns public or personally responded to the Campaign Finance Board’s findings outside of a brief statement from a campaign spokesman. Long-standing questions about Omar’s complicated marriage history have dogged her since 2016.

From Minnesota Public Radio: State officials asked Omar if she knew whether there were amendments filed to her taxes based on the accounting firm’s work. “I don’t think so,” Omar answered [in her unilluminating deposition] before adding that she couldn’t “recall doing any.”

I am thinking you will have to stick with us for the good stuff, such as this quotable quote from Omar crisis manager Ben Goldfarb in the Omar campaign emails produced to the board and filed under docket number 35): “Someone should reach out to talk off the record [with Blois Olson] and shut down [his coverage of Power Line’s initial post on Omar] as we do with the Strib [i.e., the Star Tribune]” (page 22).

FOR THE BACKGROUND TO THIS SHORT SERIES, see “From the mixed-up files of Rep. Ilhan Omar.”

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