The director of the Office of Government Ethics has called for disciplinary action to be taken against President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway for her public statements promoting Ivanka Trump retail products. In a letter addressed to White House deputy counsel, the OGE said it believes there is “strong reason” to believe Ms Conway violated ethics rules and should be disciplined for it. Request comes after House Oversight leaders point out possible violation.
#BREAKING: U.S. Office of Government Ethics Calls on
House OversightDems (@OversightDems) February 14, 2017
“Under the present circumstances, there is strong reason to believe that Ms. Conway has violated the Standards of Conduct Act and that disciplinary action is warranted,” OGE director Walter Shaub wrote in a Tuesday letter to White House.
The primary issue at stake with Conway’s endorsement of the Ivanka Trump line is that federal ethics rules dictate that an employee of the executive branch “shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.” Shaub also said OGE was informed previously “all new senior White House appointees received their required initial ethics training.”
“I recommend that the White House investigate Ms. Conway’s actions and consider taking disciplinary action against her,” Shaub concluded, asking for the White House’s answer by February 28.
Last week, the department store Nordstrom announced it would stop selling Ivanka Trump’s line of clothing and accessories, citing lagging sales. Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway respond in an interview during a segment on a Fox & Friends in the White House that viewers should show their support by purchasing Ivanka Trump’s product line.
“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would tell you. … I hate shopping but I’m going to go get some for myself today,” Conway said. “I’m going to give it a free commercial here, go buy it today.”
That provoked an outcry from Democrats who have long alleged that the first family is seeking to personally profit off the White House. Ethics groups also filed complaints alleging impropriety. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Thursday that Conway had been “counseled,” but Shaub wrote that the Office of Government Ethics had not been informed of any corrective steps.