A slew of critics including the leading Republican on the House Oversight Committee slammed White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s promotion of Ivanka Trump’s products during an appearance on Fox News Thursday.
Legal experts said in the hours following the appearance that the promotion may violate a federal ethics rule that prohibits officials from using their position to promote a product. Perhaps the most stunning rebuke came from House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz who said the plug was “clearly over the line, unacceptable,” according to the Associated Press.
“This is just wonderful line,” Conway told Fox & Friends. “I own some of it. I fully—I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”
The White House said Conway had been “counseled” for the remark without explaining what that entailed. “She’s been counseled, and that’s all we’re going to say,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer at his Thursday press briefing.
The pitch followed Nordstrom saying it would stop carrying the retail line of the president’s daughter because of weak sales. President Donald Trump was widely criticized this week for slamming Nordstrom on Twitter.
Lawrence Noble, general counsel at the elections law non-profit Campaign Legal Center, suggested on Twitter that Conway may have “violated ban on Federal employee using public office for endorsement of product.” Don W. Fox, a former Office of Government Ethics official, told The Washington Post that the promotion was “jaw-dropping.”
Enforcement of the rule is the responsibility of the White House.