Ethics Office Asks White House to Probe Kellyanne Conway

Request comes after House Oversight leaders point out possible violation

The top two lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, right, and Chairman Jason Chaffetz, left, both requested the Office of Government Ethics look into Conway's action. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Office of Government Ethics is recommending the White House investigate and take disciplinary action against Kellyanne Conway, the president’s special counselor who touted his daughter’s clothing line during a TV appearance from the White House.

In a letter to President Donald Trump’s deputy counsel, OGE Director Walter Shaub Jr. said “there is strong reason to believe” Conway violated standards of conduct that prevent employees from misusing their official positions.

At issue is an appearance Conway made on Fox News where she encouraged viewers to purchase products from Ivanka Trump's retail brand, after department store chain Nordstrom's dumped the brand due to low sales.

“I’m going to give a free commercial here,” Conway said, from a briefing room inside the White House. “Go buy it today, everybody; you can find it online.”

Shaub’s letter comes less than one week after the top two lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wrote to him pointing out that Conway appeared to violate federal law that prevents government employees from using their positions to endorse a product.

Although White Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters last week during a press conference that Conway had been “counseled” Shaub wrote that his agency has yet to receive notification of any disciplinary “or other corrective action” taken against Conway, according to the letter.

“I recommend the White House investigate Ms. Conway’s actions and consider disciplinary action against her,” Shaub wrote, adding that any action be reported back to his agency by Feb. 28.

Contact Rahman at remarahman@cqrollcall.com or follow her on Twitter at @remawriter

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