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As it turns out, a “free commercial” from a White House official is actually a direct ethics violation. Who knew?
After White House adviser Kellyanne Conway‘s commentary on Fox News last week, the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has released a letter stating that Conway committed a “clear violation” and is recommending that the White House take disciplinary action against her.
“I recommend that the White House investigate Ms. Conway’s actions and consider taking disciplinary action against her,” OGE Director William Shaub wrote in the letter, which was posted Tuesday by Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight.
During an appearance on Fox & Friends last week, Conway plugged Ivanka Trump‘s clothing line on air. The line was recently dropped by Nordstrom, which prompted President Donald Trump to berate the company on Twitter.
“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.”
The OGE website was flooded with so many phone calls, emails, and website visitors after the show that it crashed last Thursday, forcing a shutdown that lasted several hours.
Shaub notes in the letter that Conway made the statements as she “appeared on screen in a tight frame between the official seal of the White House and the American flag,” suggesting that she knew her official capacity, yet still chose to promote a product.
“Executive branch officials should use the authority entrusted to them for the benefit of the American people and not for private profit,” Shaub wrote.
Shortly after the OGE letter was released, Conway tweeted, “Here’s what matters,” with a link to a Washington Examiner poll that references Trump’s leadership.
Lauren L'Amie is the SEO editor of the Daily Dot. Her work focuses on women and the internet, tech, and health. Previously, she has contributed to Tom's Guide and Texas Monthly. Currently, she is based in Brooklyn and becoming a keyword ninja.