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Ethics Office: Disciplinary Action Should Be Taken Against Kellyanne Conway

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The director of the US office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, has recommended disciplinary action against Kellyanne Conway, presidential advisor to Donald Trump, for publicly endorsing Ivanka Trump’s products.

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In a letter to the White House, the office of Government Ethics advised a White House ethics official to have the administration look into an incident where Ms. Conway, a federal employee, used a public office to endorse a product.

The letter dated February 13th and addressed to Stefan Passantino, stated that Ms. Conway was in ‘a clear violation’ of federal ethics.

Shaub compared Kellyanne Conway’s comments to a TV commercial. Ms. Conway gave her controversial comments last week on Fox News when Nordstrom Department Store had announced that they were dropping Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessory line because the products were not making business sense. Ms. Conway then said that she would tell people to go and buy ‘Ivanka’s stuff.’ She went ahead to confirm that she owns some items from the accessory and clothing lines. Ms. Conway continued and acknowledged that she was giving a’ free commercial’ and finished by saying that the products can also be found online.

kellyanne conway

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Kellyanne Conway’s controversial comments came one day after President Donald Trump attacked the Nordstorm department store for dropping his daughter’s lines. The ethics rules do not however apply to the president though his comments did welcome comments from critics who said that it was inappropriate of him to attack the department store.

The Government Ethics body does not have any enforcement or investigative authority but it can formally recommend for disciplinary action. The letter from Director Shaub puts pressure on the White House Counsel’s Office to reveal whether any action will be taken on Kellyanne Conway. The office requested for response by February 28. In a separate letter addressed to the House Oversight Committee, Shaub wrote that the office of Government Ethics has little in the way of resources if the White House declines to take any step; the office can only issue a recommendation that is ‘nonbinding’ to inform the president that a body is not disciplining an employee.

kellyanne conway

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Shaub says that he has not yet been notified whether the White House has disciplined Ms. Conway. However Sean Spencer, the press secretary, says that the presidential advisor has since then been ‘counseled’ after the incident. The White House ethics official, Stefan Passantino, who was named in the letter declined to give comments and spokesman of the White House did not respond to a request for comment.

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