Sounds like White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway was just taken to the woodshed by the Trump administration. Yes, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer just sort of admitted that she broke ethics rules which prevent federal employees from outright hawking or promoting products. Well, kind of, anyway.
“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff,” Conway said during an appearance on Fox & Friends. “I’m gonna give it a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.” But, you see, there is a federal law that actually pretty explicitly prevents this kind of promoting by federal employees.
When White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about this apparent breach Thursday afternoon, Spicer responded, “She has been counseled, that’s we are going to say.”
The law, 5 CFR 2635.702, says: “An employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.”
As we reported earlier, the punishment for violating ethics laws is ultimately up to the President.
Typically, Larry Noble from the Campaign Legal Center said, an employee may face a warning, suspension, or even firing for this kind of ethics violation.
Corrective action may ALSO be ordered or disciplinary action recommended by the Director of the Office of Government Ethics. The Director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is Walter M. Shaub, who has been quite critical of Trump. It is likely that Shaub’s agency will receive a complaint about Conway’s comments, may even investigate and recommend further discipline. It’s not clear if Trump would take this matter even further, but, at the very least, it seems Conway has been spoken to by the White House lawyers.