Ethics Officer Says Conway's Comments Appear to Violate Rules

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway should be investigated for hawking Ivanka Trump's product line on Fox & Friends Feb. 9.

That is according to a letter to the House Oversight Committee released Tuesday (Feb. 14) by Democratic members.

Conway, reacting to Nordstrom's decision to pull the line from their stores, said on-air that she was doing a free ad for the products and urged viewers to buy them.

The letter, from Walter Shaub, director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, to the White House's designated ethics official, said that there is "strong reason to believe that Ms. Conway has violated the Standards of Conduct and that disciplinary action is warranted. "

The White House advised the office that all senior White House appointees had received the requisite ethics training, and that OGE's example on misuse of position is a presidential appointee doing a commercial for a product. "Ms. Conway's actions track that example almost exactly."

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had said Conway had been "counseled" and left it at that. But Shaub wants the White House to notify it in writing of its investigation and what disciplinary action it might be taking."

He said he will share that, as he did the letter to the White House, with the chair of the Oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).

Chaffetz and Cummings wrote Shaub on Feb. 9 saying Conway's interview had raised "extremely serious concerns," said they appeared to violate ethics rules, and asked him to review them and report his recommendation back to the committee, which he did Tuesday.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.