Was Kellyanne Conway out of line when she mentioned Ivanka Trump’s fashion line? Conway’s comments on Fox and Friends last Thursday caused an uproar of controversy. Quite blatantly she encouraged viewers to buy Trump’s daughter’s clothing line.
Both Republicans and Democrats have criticized her for this. So outraged has the public been, the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) website crashed. It could not handle the level of inquiries and complaints following the incident.
This follows on from President Donald Trump’s tweet on February 8, the day before. President Trump defended his daughter after Nordstrom dropped her clothing line. Complaints against his tweet claimed he was abusing his power. Had he crossed the line between public service and private business gains? Nordstrom could potentially sue for slander. However, lawyer Maxwell Blecher believes they don’t have a strong enough basis to do that.
The federal ethics rules clearly state the following:
“An employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise or for the private gain of friends, relatives or persons with whom the employed is affiliated in a non-governmental capacity”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has stated that Conway is being counseled. It is unclear what the next step will be. Watch Dog groups, Public Citizen and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, have called for an investigation. Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz believes there should be a hearing. Chaffetz, as well as R-Utah and Elijah Cummings, have signed and sent a joint letter to the OGE.
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