House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Thursday called Kellyanne Conway's promotion of first daughter Ivanka Trump's fashion brand "clearly over the line, unacceptable." While speaking from the White House press briefing room Thursday morning, Conway — one of President Trump's top advisers — told Americans to "go buy Ivanka [Trump's] stuff" following reports that retailers were dropping the first daughter's apparel line. "I'm going to give it a free commercial here; go buy it today," Conway said.
Chaffetz, who is planning a bipartisan letter on the matter, said Conway's promotion of the Ivanka Trump brand "should never have happened" and warned the Trump administration to "learn this lesson very quick."
Legal experts told The New York Times that Conway's comments may have violated federal ethics rules. The rules explicitly ban employees of the executive branch from using "public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service, or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity." "You couldn't think of a clearer example of violating the ban of using your government position as kind of a walking billboard for products or services offered by a private individual," Laurence Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard University, told The New York Times.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that Conway has "been counseled," but would not elaborate further.