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U.S. ethics office website crashes after Kellyanne Conway comments

This is getting out of hand.


Andrew Couts


It’s been a busy day for the Office of Government Ethics. 

The federal agency, which works to ensure executive branch staff members follow proper ethics guidelines, was bombarded with phone calls and emails on Thursday after comments made by White House adviser Kellyanne Conway. So many people visited the OGE website, in fact, that it crashed, rendering it unavailable for several hours. 

During an appearance on Fox & Friends on Thursday morning, Conway urged viewers to buy clothing produced by Ivanka Trump‘s company, which was recently dropped by Nordstrom. 

“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would say. I hate shopping—I’m going to buy stuff today,” Conway said. She added, “I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”

On Wednesday Conway’s boss and Ivanka’s father, President Donald Trump, criticized the retailer for dropping the clothing line in a tweet, which actually sent the company’s stock price up.

Unfortunately, all the efforts were mostly for naught: OGE does not itself investigate potential ethics violations, a detail it took to Twitter to explain amid an avalanche of angry Americans. 

While OGE did not mention Conway by name, others did: She now faces multiple formal complaints from civic groups and the possibility of “disciplinary action” from Congress. Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said during Thursday’s briefing that Conway had been “counseled” on the matter.

This is not the first day of heavy traffic to the OGE’s website. Speaking with Politico reporter Eric Geller, OGE’s site administrator said the agency’s website’s traffic in the past 40 days is nearly 17 times higher than all traffic it received in the entirety of 2016.

Part of this jump may be due to the higher profile of the OGE itself, which made headlines after its director, Walter Shaub, ordered several bizarre tweets regarding Trump’s business ties.

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