The U.S. Office of Government Ethics recommended Monday that the White House investigate Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump adviser, for possible disciplinary action after she publicly endorsed Ivanka Trump’s products in a national television interview last week.
“Under the present circumstances, there is strong reason to believe that Ms. Conway has violated the Standards of Conduct and that disciplinary action is warranted,” OGE Director Walter Shaub wrote in a letter to White House Deputy Counsel Stefan Passantino on Monday. Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee released the letter to the public on Tuesday.
The specter of possible ethics sanctions against one of the most visible figures in the Trump White House comes as the administration grapples with the fallout from Monday’s firing of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, whose brief tenure was dogged by reports he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before the inauguration.
Conway’s controversy began two weeks ago when Nordstrom announced it would drop Ivanka Trump’s brand from its department stores on February 2, citing flagging sales. Other retailers followed suit shortly thereafter. Six days later, President Trump fired back by claiming his daughter had been “treated so unfairly” by the company.
My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2017
The following day, Conway appeared on Fox News’s Fox and Friends morning show from the White House press briefing room and defended the president’s remarks. She also claimed the executives who had dropped Ivanka’s merchandise were trying to target the president through his daughter’s brand. Then she offered a ringing endorsement.