Politics

Ivanka Trump Billboard Causes Ethics Violation Concerns (Photo)

| by Alex Scarr

As Ivanka Trump, daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump, prepares for her first international visit as a White House adviser, controversy has swirled about a certain billboard in the Philippines.

A photo of the billboard, located in Manila, shows Ivanka modeling in a large advertisement for Trump Tower Manila, which circulated Twitter May 1 after venture capitalist Peter Brack tweeted the image, according to Rare. Just a day before the picture was released, Mr. Trump had extended a White House invitation to Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines. Brack's tweet has since been deleted. 

Amid ethics violations concerns, the Trump Organization cleared the air by confirming that the billboard in question is from 2012, and has since been removed.

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“This is an old photo. The developer of Trump Tower in Manila has confirmed that this particular billboard was removed several years ago," a Trump Organization spokesperson said in a statement, according to The Hill.

Ivanka serves as a special counselor to the president, which requires her to abide by White House ethics rules. She has come under fire for alleged ethics violations in the past in regards to her Nordstrom clothing line and book deals.

According to Politico, the Office of Government Ethics recently approved Ivanka's role in her father's White House under the stipulations that she participate in regular financial disclosures of her assets and financial interests of her spouse and children, as well as distancing herself from any matters related to Trump family business.

The Office of Government Ethics, headed by Director Walter M. Shaub, suggested that in the event of a conflict of interest, Ivanka should opt to recuse herself from the matter at hand, according to an OGE statement. Staff members generally avoid issues of personal finance completely while in the White House.

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The OGE also suggested that "other remedies for resolving conflicts of interest can include reassignment, divestiture, waiver, or the establishment of a qualified blind or diversified trust."

"The White House is responsible for providing [Ivanka] Trump with ethics support and advice," wrote Shaub in a reply to Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Thomas Carper.  "The White House is also responsible for monitoring compliance with the remedies put in place to resolve actual or apparent conflicts of interest."

"In addition, White House officials and [Ivanka] Trump's representatives are free to consult with OGE if they require assistance in addressing any ethics issues that arise. I hope this explanation addresses the issues your letter raises."

In March, Warren and Carper petitioned Shaub's office for more information regarding Ivanka's adherence with federal ethics rules, as well as expressed their concern that Ivanka was expanding her unofficial role in the White House without further clearance, according to Politico.

Sources: Rare, The Hill, Office of Government Ethics, Politico (2) / Photo credit: Michael Vadon/Flickr, Twitter via Rare

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