President Donald Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway violated government ethics rules when she told people to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff” using a public platform last week, the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) confirmed, recommending disciplinary action against her.
“There is strong reason to believe that Ms. Conway has violated the Standards of Conduct and that disciplinary action is warranted,” Walter Shaub Jr., the director of the Office of Government Ethics, wrote in a letter Monday addressed to Deputy White House Counsel Stefan Passantino. Passantino is Trump’s top official for issues related to compliance and ethics.
The letter was also sent to Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House oversight and government reform committee, and Elijah Cummings, the committee’s ranking Democrat. The two had co-authored a letter addressed to the OGE last week, saying the comments by the counselor “violate the ethical principles for federal employees and are unacceptable.”
During an appearance on "Fox and Friends" on Feb. 9, Conway urged the audience to “Go buy Ivanka's stuff,” after a number of retail chains, including Nordstrom dropped the brand following massive protests.
“I’m going to go get some myself today,” Conway said during the interview. “I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody.”
According to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Conway was being “counseled” following the incident, but he did not give further details.
This is not the first goof up on Conway’s part, who previously used the term “alternative facts” to defend some of the unverifiable comments by the Trump administration and mentioned an imaginary “Bowling Green Massacre” to defend the president’s travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority nations.
In a controversial move Tuesday, reports said President Trump "unfollowed" Conway on Twitter, only to follow her back when people started to notice. However, Trump was reportedly never following Conway to begin with but did so on Tuesday.