Donald Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway encouraged Americans to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff” Thursday morning in promotion of Ivanka Trump’s apparel business. “It’s a wonderful line. I own some of it,” she said, adding, “I’m going to give it a free commercial here.”
“Here” was the White House Briefing Room in an interview with “Fox and Friends,” and the incident raised questions about the ethics of a White House official hyping a product that financially benefits the first family. And now, two top members of the House Oversight Committee are asking that the Office of Government Ethics look into Conway’s remarks, The Hill reported.
The House Oversight chairman also called Conway’s promotion of Ivanka’s brand “clearly over the line, unacceptable,” according to the Associated Press.
Conway’s remarks appear to violate a regulation from the Office of Government Ethics that bars executive branch staffers from endorsing any product or company — especially one that benefits themselves, friends, or family members.
“You cannot just use the government for private gain,” said Lichtenstein Ethics Professors at Hofstra University Law School Ellen Yaroshefsky, regarding Conway’s comments. “It is a fundamental concept and violation of federal law to do so.”
Nordstrom said it told Ivanka about plans to drop the brand in early January, due to declining sales of the label. In recent months, the #GrabYourWallet campaign has encouraged consumers to boycott all Trump products, including Ivanka’s line.
Conway’s comments come one day after Trump used the @POTUS account to retweet a personal tweet that his daughter had “been treated so unfairly” by the department store.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that Conway “has been counseled” regarding her remarks. He previously said, however, that Trump had “every right to stand up for his family.”
In another plot twist, the Office of Government Ethics went on a tweetstorm, noting that it had received “an extraordinary volume of contacts from citizens about recent events.”