On Thursday morning, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, walked into the White House Briefing Room and violated federal ethics laws during an interview with Fox & Friends. In response to the silly drama Trump whipped up with Nordstrom's after the retailer had the audacity to stop carrying Ivanka Trump's brand because the free market decided it wasn't good enough, Conway said this:
“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would tell you. I hate shopping, but I am going to go get some myself today. This is just — it’s a wonderful line, I own some of it, I’m just gonna give a free commercial here, go buy it today, you can buy it online.”
Essentially Conway used her position as a high-ranking government official to endorse the business of someone that she has a personal relationship with. Not only was it a stunning example of just how corrupt the Trump Administration is, but according to Larry Nobel, the former general counsel of the FEC, it was also a violation this regulation from the Office of Government Ethics:
Politico explains that under ordinary circumstances the White House would be tasked with punishing Conway for her violation, but that is unlikely to happen:
Under the regulation, OGE’s director can notify the employee of the violation and ask the agency to investigate. The director can recommend discipline, including suspension, loss of pay or termination, but probably just a warning for a first offense.
Ordinarily, a violation in the White House would be dealt with by the White House counsel. But it’s not clear how the regulation will be enforced under a president who, based on his own statement on Wednesday, seems to approve of what Conway said.
If we are being honest, this blatant ethics violation is completely unsurprising coming from this administration. Donald Trump has made it perfectly clear that he believes his team can do whatever they want because he seems to think the executive branch is untouchable. Trump has repeatedly said that there is no such thing as a conflict of interest concerning the president and on Wednesday even used the POTUS Twitter account to attack an American business for personal reasons.
Trump has been in office for just three weeks and his administration is already shaping up to be the most corrupt in history--Nixon would be so proud.