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Julian Castro: Unlike Kellyanne Conway, I took corrective steps after my Hatch Act violation

Former Obama administration official Julián Castro on Thursday said he agreed with a government watchdog’s determination that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway should be removed from her job for repeatedly mixing politics with her day job — something he was found to have done on an occasion in 2016.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel said in 2016 that Mr. Castro violated a provision known as the Hatch Act after he praised Hillary Clinton, then a presidential candidate, in an interview.

“I said, ‘I made a mistake.’ I’m going to make sure that I admit that, and we will do everything that we can so I understand where those lines are and that everybody else on my team understands where those lines are,” Mr. Castro, a 2020 presidential candidate, said at a Fox News town hall.

He said he thinks it’s important for leaders to be able to acknowledge when they’ve made mistakes and then take proper action to correct it.

“The difference between me and Kellyanne Conway is — and the Office of Special Counsel pointed this out — she violated the Hatch Act, and instead of saying, ‘OK look, I’m going to take these efforts to make sure that doesn’t happen again,’ she said ‘to hell with it, I’m going to keep doing it,’ “ Mr. Castro said. “They said that she had repeatedly done that. That’s the difference.”

Special counsel Henry J. Kerner said this week that Mrs. Conway routinely flouted the law by mixing politics with her day job as an official White House employee. The White House said his work was riddled with errors, and there’s no indication there will be any disciplinary action taken.

Mr. Castro said everyone makes mistakes, but the true test of a leader is what they do when they err.

“Are you big enough to own up to it and then make sure that you correct what you do in the future, or do you do, basically, what she did, which is to say, ‘No, I’m bigger than that?’ ” he said.

“No, she did the wrong thing,” Mr. Castro said. “And I support the Office of Special Counsel’s determination that because she repeatedly violated it, even though she was clearly told that it was a violation, that she should be removed from office.”

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