Government Ethics office calls for discipline of Kellyanne Conway after endorsing Ivanka Trump products on TV

Feliks Garcia
New York
Tuesday 14 February 2017 21:29 GMT
Conway attends swearing in ceremony of Tom Price for HHS secretary job
Conway attends swearing in ceremony of Tom Price for HHS secretary job (Mark Wilson/Getty)

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.

The OGE’s letter comes as the White House is embroiled in controversy that resulted in the abrupt resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and conversations held between him and the Russian Ambassador late last year.

Still, Mr Flynn’s resignation was just one of many controversies that have come out of the administration in its infancy, including concerns of the Trump family’s business ties.

“Under the present circumstances, there is strong reason to believe that Ms Conway has violated the Standards of Conduct and that disciplinary action is warranted,” the letter reads.

During an appearance on Fox News last week, Ms Conway responded to Nordstrom department store’s business decision to stop selling Ms Trump’s clothing line.

Kellyanne Conway tells Americans to 'go buy Ivanka's stuff'

“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would tell you. I hate shopping. I’m going to go get some myself today,” she said from the White House briefing room.

Under federal law, it is illegal to use public office for private gain, as well as “for the endorsement of any product, service, or enterprise” and for the “private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity”.

The OGE pointed out in the letter that Ms Conway was “unquestionably appearing in her official capacity”.

Last week, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that Ms Conway had been “counselled on that subject”, but the administration failed to deliver information regarding disciplinary or corrective action taken against her.

According to reports, Ms Trump “scolded” Ms Conway for “dragging her brand into an ethics mess and told her not to mention it again on TV”.

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