Democrats have been moaning and groaning about ethics violations since Donald Trump was still in his primary Republican race. Since he has taken office they have castigated him about it even more. Some have argued that he has too many conflicts of interest. Others have argued that he is violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution. But now it seems his White House advisor Kellyanne Conway may be in ethical hot water.
The President’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, has been having a bit of a rough time when it comes to her businesses since her father took office. Several department stores, which includes Nordstrom, have announced they are either cutting ties with the First Daughter or scaling back their level of business with her.
As a result Kellyanne Conway went on Fox News this past Thursday to defend Ivanka. Specifically she said the following,
“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would tell you. I hate shopping, but I’m going to go get some for myself today.”
However, what seemed like a simple endorsement and response could very well be a huge issue for Conway. Members of the media and ethics experts are arguing that her comments violate federal ethics laws. Former Deputy Secretary of Labor, Chris Lu, spoke out about it.
He took to Twitter to discuss ethical standards for employees of the executive branch. In his social media post he tagged Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah who is Chair of the House Oversight Committee. In his tweet he quoted the following statement,
“An employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain, endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives.”
Richard Painter, former Chief Ethics lawyer to President George W. Bush and current professor of corporate law, said he did not want to accuse Conway of doing something illegal and wanted to tread carefully. But he was willing to say the following about her comments,
“it is a violation of federal ethics regulations prohibiting use of public office for private gain for any government employee in an official speech, an official capacity TV interview or any similar communication to promote the products or services of a particular private business belonging to the employee’s own family, the president’s family, a friend, a campaign contributor or anyone else. That was strictly forbidden in the Bush administration because it is illegal.”
Former General Counsel and Director for the Office of Government Ethics Don W. Fox spoke out against her comments to the Washington Post. General Counsel of the Campaign Legal Center Larry Noble said she may have violated ethical rules. The progressive American Bridge PAC called for the firing of Conway.
While Robert Weissman who is the President of the liberal Public Citizen advocacy group said that the Trump finances are one in the same with the White House agenda. Going on and on about how they are using the White House to advance their own financial agenda.
The liberals are searching to create problems. It is up to Americans to let this die the way it should.
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