Ethics Watchdog Blasts Conway’s Endorsement of Ivanka Trump Products

Kellyanne Conway

Kellyanne Conway

A recent statement from the Office of Government Ethics indicates the White House should start a probe into Donald Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway’s endorsement of Ivanka Trump’s clothing line on “Fox & Friends.”

The office said Tuesday the top Trump official’s move was a “clear violation” of federal ethics rules.

In the letter, which Democrats posted on the watchdog’s website Tuesday, OGE’s director Walter Shaub urged the White House to consider taking “disciplinary action” against Conway.

The embattled senior adviser admitted that she offered a “free commercial” to the president’s daughter after the luxury department store Nordstrom decided to no longer do business with her. President Trump and his close aides slammed the store for its “politically motivated” move even though Nordstrom had said the decision had nothing to do with politics but with finances.

Trump’s spokesman unveiled last week that Conway received counsel over her remarks. Schaub however said that his office was not briefed on any disciplinary or corrective action against the official.

OGE pointed out that Conway’s endorsement of Ivanka’s products was filmed in the White House’s press room which suggests she made those comments in her “official capacity.” Shaub thinks Conway used her position to promote Ivanka’s products.

OGE’s head sent the letter to the deputy White House counsel Stefan Passantino and to Reps. Elijah Cummings and Jason Chaffetz, both of whom lead the House oversight committee. Cummings and Chaffetz criticized Conway on Thursday. In a joint statement, they said her comment “clearly” violated the federal ethical principles that should govern federal employees’ conduct. The two representatives think Conway’s conduct was “unacceptable.”

Schaub asked Trump administration to notify the panel of any probe and actions by Feb. 28.

Conway is currently in hot water over other comments she had made in the last three weeks. Experts noted she is having a credibility crisis as several news outlets said they would no longer interview her.

For instance, MSNBC’s anchor Mika Brzezinski said about her that she was “giving people dishonesty” and pledged not to invite her on set as she is “not worth the interview.”

She goes out and lies, and you find out about those lies a couple hours later,

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, who co-hosts “Morning Joe” with Brzezinski, said about Conway.

Another anchor who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity said the Trump official constantly “misrepresents the truth” and viewers get “nothing out of her.” The anchor described her as a “low-hanging spinning fruit, sugary but empty.”

Conway’s on-air credibility began to sink after her now-famous “alternative facts” remark following the Inauguration Day. She also raised some eyebrows on Monday when she said that Trump had “full confidence” in his national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn. White House’s spokesman said afterwards the administration was evaluating his situation. Later that day, Flynn presented a resignation letter.

About 10 days ago, CNN said it refused to have her on “State of the Union” because it had “serious questions about her credibility.” However, a few days later, she was back on the air for an explosive appearance on Jake Tapper’s “The Lead.”
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