Did Kellyanne Conway just break the law?
White House spokesperson Kellyanne Conway gave a free commercial – her own words! = to Ivanka Trump’s fashion line late this morning:
Speaking from the White House press briefing room on Thursday, Kellyanne Conway told Americans they should “go buy Ivanka [Trump’s] stuff” following reports that many retailers are dropping Ivanka’s eponymous clothing line.
“I’m going to give it a free commercial here; go buy it today,” Conway told the hosts of Fox & Friends while noting that the president’s daughter “is in a very good place.”
Conway’s comments are a particularly egregious example of how the Trump businesses are cashing in on the Trump presidency. They also appear to violate federal ethics law, which prohibits the endorsement of products by federal officials.
The specifics of the regulations around endorsements are as follows:
Larry Nobel, the former general counsel of the FEC, believes it is likely that Conway’s statements violated these provisions.
Sean Spicer, during the daily press briefing, said
“Kellyanne has been counseled and that’s all we’re going to go with,” Spicer replied. “She’s been counseled on that subject, and that’s it.”
That is not good enough for some in the legislature.
The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), called for an ethics review of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway promoting Ivanka Trump’s clothing line.
In a Thursday letter to Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Cummings requested the panel make a referral about Conway to the Office of Government Ethics to determine whether she violated ethics laws barring federal employees from using their public offices to endorse products.