The U.S. government’s ethics watchdog is urging the White House to investigate and possibly discipline top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway for her recent comments about Ivanka Trump’s business ventures.
On Tuesday, Democrats in the U.S. House Oversight Committee publically released a letter that the Office of Government Ethics wrote to White House legal counselor Stefan Passantino, citing that Conway violated the standards of ethical conduct by endorsing Ivanka Trump’s product line during a televised interview, reports The Hill.
She went to Ivanka’s defense after Nordstrom announced last week that the retailer would no longer sell her fashion line due to declining sales. During the interview, Conway advocated for viewers to show their support by purchasing Ivanka Trump’s products. “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.”
Conway has since received a flurry of disparaging remarks from Democrats over hawking Ivanka’s products. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) also criticized her conduct for being “over the line” and “unacceptable.”
— House OversightDems (@OversightDems) February 14, 2017
Office of Government Ethic director Walter Schaub wrote a letter on Feb. 9th regarding the matter to the White House Deputy Council that stated:
“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.”
“Executive branch officials should use the authority entrusted to them for the benefit of the American people and not for private profit,” he wrote.
Shaub expressed that Conway should have been made aware by the White House of this ethics code. He argued, “These facts, if true, would establish a clear violation of the prohibition against misuse of position. I note that the OGE’s regulation on misuse of position offers as an example the hypothetical case of a presidential appointee appearing in a television commercial to promote a product. Ms. Conway’s actions track that example almost exactly. Therefore, I recommend that the White House investigate Ms. Conway’s actions and consider taking disciplinary action against her.”
Schaub requested in the letter that the White House respond by Feb. 28 with the results of its investigation and if the plan is to take disciplinary action.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer remarked last week that Conway has been “counseled,” suggesting that she had been reprimanded. However, the Office of Government Ethic has yet to receive any guidance on what if anything happened as a corrective action, says the report.
H/T: The Hill
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