WASHINGTON—The Office of Government Ethics (OGE), an independent agency tasked with overseeing the executive branch, has recommended disciplinary actions against Kellyanne Conway after the counselor to President Donald Trump provided what she described as a “free commercial” for Ivanka Trump’s clothing line.
In a letter sent to Stefan Passantino, the White House’s Designated Agency Ethics Official, OGE Director Walter M. Shaub, Jr. writes that Conway’s statement on Fox News urging Americans to purchase Ivanka Trump products appears to clearly violate ethics rules barring those in public office from using their position for the financial gain of their associates.
“She was unquestionably appearing in her official capacity,” Shaub’s letter states. “As Ms. Conway made these statements, she appeared on screen in a tight frame between the official seal of the White House and the American flag.”
Shaub urged the White House to provide OGE with written details of their investigation of the issue and any disciplinary action taken by the end of the month.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters last week that Conway was “counseled” following her television appearance, but gave no further details.
While OGE says that stronger actions would be appropriate, the agency is only permitted by Congress to provide informal recommendations.