Society

Conway May Face Disciplinary Action Over Comments

| by Jordan Smith

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway could face disciplinary action after lawmakers sent a letter to the Office of Government Ethics calling for an investigation into comments she made on Fox News.

Conway was speaking about the decision by retailer Nordstrom to drop the products of President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, The Hill reported.

"Go buy Ivanka's stuff," Conway said, adding later that her comments were a "free commercial."

Government officials are legally forbidden from using their public position to promote products.

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Conway's remarks were "clearly over the line," according to Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chair of the House Oversight Committee.

Chaffetz authored a joint letter with Democrat Elija Cummings asking the Director of the OGE, Walter Shaub Jr., to recommend disciplinary action because the White House, where Ivanka's father would have the final say, had an "inherent conflict of interest."

Potential punishments could include "reprimand, suspension, demotion or dismissal."

White House press secretary Sean Spicer stated that Conway had been "counseled on the subject," according to the Washington Post.

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"Conway's statements clearly violate the ethical principles for federal employees and are unacceptable," the letter from Chaffetz and Cummings added, according to The Hill. "The White House's reported decision to counsel Conway supports this decision."

The OGE is able to make only a recommendation on what punishment Conway should face; the ultimate decision would be made by the White House.

Conway's comments were made a day after Trump tweeted that his daughter had "been treated so unfairly" by Nordstrom when they removed her products, the Post reported.

Don Fox, currently acting director of the OGE, also criticized Conway's statements, describing them as "jaw-dropping."

"To encourage Americans to buy goods from companies owned by the first family is totally out of bounds and needs to stop," Peter Schweizer, who worked closely with Trump's chief strategist Stephen Bannon, said. "Clearly, the Trumps feel some of this is related to politics. But whether that’s true or not, these marketing battles need to be fought by Ivanka and her company. They cannot and should not be fought by government employees and the White House."

Sources: The Hill, Washington Post / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

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