Common Cause Complaint Urges Investigation & Disciplinary Action Against Kellyanne Conway for Ethics Violations

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  • David Vance

Common Cause filed a complaint with the Office of Government Ethics and the White House Counsel’s Office calling for an investigation and disciplinary action against Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway for ethics violations. Today in an interview on the Fox News program Fox & Friends, Conway violated the “endorsement” prohibition by repeatedly encouraging viewers to go out and purchase fashion products sold by the company owned by President Trumps daughter Ivanka.

“Ms. Conway’s actions violated ethics rules,” said Paul S. Ryan, Common Cause Vice President for Policy and Litigation. “Simple common sense should have prevented her from urging Fox viewers to buy products from the President’s daughter’s company. It is very troubling that someone serving as a close advisor to the President somehow thought that such clearly unethical actions were appropriate. Enough ethical concerns surround the President’s international business holdings without staffers serving as spokespeople for businesses owned by the President and his family members.”

In the live interview today, Conway expressly endorsed the product line of Ivanka Trump, encouraged viewers to buy the company’s products and directed the audience to the company’s site online. In the interview Conway said, “I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody.”

Federal employees are expressly prohibited from endorsing products under 5 C.F.R. 2635.702. The regulation says that “an employee shall not use his 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, or for the endorsement of any product, service, or enterprise.” 

Common Cause urged the Office of Government Ethics and the White House Counsel’s office to quickly investigate this apparent ethics violation and discipline Ms. Conway accordingly.

To read the complaint, click here.