White House urged to investigate Trump adviser
Washington, Feb 15 (IANS) The US Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has called on the White House to investigate presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway for advertising on television the clothing brand belonging to President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump.
In a letter addressed to White House Deputy Counsel Stefan Passantino on Tuesday, OGE Director Walter Shaub said Conway’s comments were in “clear violation” of rules against the misuse of an official position.
“There is strong reason to believe that Conway has violated the Standards of Conduct and that disciplinary action is warranted,” Shaub wrote in a letter, Time magazine reported.
“I note that OGE’s regulation on misuse of position offers as an example the hypothetical case of a Presidential appointee appearing in a television commercial to promote a product. Ms Conway’s actions track that example almost exactly. Therefore, I recommend that the White House investigate Conway’s actions,” Shaub added.
Two weeks ago, US luxury department store chain Nordstrom withdrew Ivanka’s line of clothing from its stores over a drop in sales in recent months, a move interpreted by Trump as a personal attack.
During an interview with Fox News last week, Conway gave a “free commercial” for the Ivanka Trump brand, according to the adviser herself.
“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff. It’s a wonderful line. I own some of it,” Conway said.
Conway’s comments substantially sparked a controversy in the country, and the chairman of the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Republican Jason Chaffetz, and the highest-ranking Democrat of the body, Elijah Cummings, requested the OGE to review the case.
Asked about Conway’s comments, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said she had been “counselled on that subject — and that’s it”.