Chaffetz, Cummings: Kellyanne Conway Appeared to Violate Ethics Law

Office of Government Ethics asked to recommend disciplinary action

Reps. Elijah E. Cummings, left, and Jason Chaffetz say Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, has appeared to violate federal law with her public endorsement of Ivanka Trump’s retail brand. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The top lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Thursday it appeared White House counselor Kellyanne Conway violated ethics laws when she endorsed Ivanka Trump’s clothing line.

Conway appeared on Fox News on Thursday morning and encouraged viewers to purchase products from the president’s daughter’s retail brand. Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah and ranking Democrat Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland wrote in a letter to the head of the Office of Government Ethics that Conway appeared to violate federal law that prohibits government employees from using their positions to endorse a product.

“In this case, Conway’s statements from the White House using her official title could appear to constitute an explicit endorsement and advertisement for Ivanka Trump’s personal business activities,” they wrote in the Thursday letter.

Conway appeared on television and discussed the recent decisions by stores to drop the president’s daughter’s clothing and accessories line.

“I’m going to give a free commercial here,” Conway said on air. “Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”

Cummings and Chaffetz asked OGE head Walter Shaub to review the statements and recommend disciplinary action to the White House. They noted that the president is the ultimate enforcer when it comes to White House employees complying with ethics laws. The lawmakers said this presents “an inherent conflict of interest.”

Niels Lesniewksi contributed to this report.

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