A government ethics watchdog recommended that President Donald Trump order discipline for special counselor Kellyanne Conway Tuesday because she violated the standards of conduct by using her official position to promote Ivanka Trump’s clothing brand.
“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,” Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Director Walter M. Shaub Jr. said in a letter to White House Deputy Counsel Stefan Passantino.
The Democrats’ Twitter account for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform tweeted the letter Tuesday afternoon. Utah Republican and committee chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, requested OGE investigate Conway’s potential ethics violation last week. (RELATED: Conway’s ‘Free Commercial’ For Ivanka Trump Prompts House Ethics Probe)
“This is just a wonderful line,” Conway said on Fox News after Nordstrom dropped Trump’s clothing line. “Go buy it today everybody, you can find it online.”
Shaub noted that Conway “appeared on screen in a tight frame between the official seal of the White House and the American flag. These facts, if true, would establish a clear violation of the prohibition against misuse of position.”
He added that Conway’s actions are almost identical to an OGE example of an ethics violation. “Therefore, I recommend the White House investigate Ms. Conway’s actions and consider taking disciplinary action against her,” he said.
Additionally, OGE has received no evidence that Conway has been disciplined for her statement, though White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Feb. 9 that “Kellyanne has been counseled, and that’s all we’re going to go with.”
Shaub did not recommend what disciplinary action the White House should take. He requested Passantino notify OGE of any discipline by Feb. 28.
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