Ethics office criticizes White House response to Kellyanne Conway saying 'buy Ivanka's stuff'
The head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, or OGE, has criticized the Trump administration for declining to punish White House counselor Kellyanne Conway after she told TV viewers to buy Ivanka Trump's products.
On Thursday, ABC News' Alex Mallin tweeted a copy of the letter OGE director Walter Shaub, Jr. sent to White House deputy counsel Stefan C. Passantino.
In it, Shaub says, "I remain concerned about Ms. Conway's misuse of position."
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He adds that Passantino's previous letter explaining the situation "concedes that her televised statements from the White House press briefing room implicated the prohibition on using one's official position to endorse any product or service."
He also says, "Not taking disciplinary action against a senior official under such circumstances risks undermining the ethics program."
Shaub continues by writing, "I am more concerned about the extraordinary assertion that 'many' of OGE's regulations are inapplicable to employees of the Executive Office of the President. The assertion is incorrect, and the letter cites no legal basis for it."
This letter comes about a week after Passantino notified Shaub that the White House would not be disciplining Conway but that the Standards of Conduct rules had been reviewed with her, notes the Daily Beast.
Her comments were also described as being made in "a light, off-hand manner..."
Conway's comments on Fox News' 'Fox & Friends' in early February, included, "go buy Ivanka's stuff," and the lengthier endorsement, "This is just wonderful line. I own some of it...I'm going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online."