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US Ethics Office Calls for Investigation of Trump Aide's Comments

  • VOA News

This frame grab from video provided by Fox News shows White House adviser Kellyanne Conway during her interview with Fox News Fox and Friends, Feb. 9, 2017, in the briefing room of the White House in Washington.

This frame grab from video provided by Fox News shows White House adviser Kellyanne Conway during her interview with Fox News Fox and Friends, Feb. 9, 2017, in the briefing room of the White House in Washington.

The U.S. Office of Government Ethics is recommending that the White House investigate and consider corrective action against top presidential aide Kellyanne Conway for appearing to violate government ethics by publicly endorsing a fashion line belonging to President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka.

The OGE made the comments in a letter this week to a White House ethics official.

Conway, speaking on Fox News last week, encouraged viewers to buy products from a clothing line owned by the younger Trump, after the Nordstrom department store announced it would drop her brand. Nordstrom said the decision was due to declining sales and was not political. The president later used Twitter to criticize the store's decision.

Conway said she owned some of the clothing from the line and she was going to “give a free commercial.”

In the letter, OGE Director Walter M. Shaub, Jr. encouraged the White House to punish Conway if necessary.

"These facts, if true, would establish a clear violation of the prohibition against misuse of position," Shaub wrote. "Therefore, I recommend that the White House investigate Ms. Conway's actions and consider taking disciplinary action against her."

Shaub also noted in his letter that Conway’s actions are almost identical to an example used during ethics training about what not to do while employed by the White House.

"I note that OGE's regulation on misuse of position offers as an example the hypothetical case of a Presidential appointee appearing in a television commercial to promote a product," he wrote. "Ms. Conway's actions track that example almost exactly."

Last week, when asked about the comments, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Conway was "counseled on that subject – and that’s it."

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