Top oversight lawmakers ask ethics office to recommend discipline for Conway

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The two top lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee on Thursday called on the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) to recommend disciplinary action against White House counselor Kellyanne Conway for publicly promoting Ivanka Trump’s clothing line.

In a letter to OGE Director Walter Shaub Jr., Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and ranking democrat Elijah Cummings (Md.) said Conway’s comments appeared to be an example of the White House counselor using her government office to endorse the personal business of President Trump’s daughter.

{mosads}Conway provoked controversy earlier Thursday when, in a Fox News appearance, she urged viewers to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff” in response to retailer Nordstrom dropping the clothing after citing poor sales. Conway called her comments, which came after the president sent an angry tweet aimed at Nordstrom, a “free commercial.”

Cummings wrote a letter to Chaffetz shortly afterward, calling on the Oversight Committee to refer Conway’s comments to the OGE for disciplinary action. Chaffetz said soon after that the counselor’s remarks were “clearly over the line.”

In their joint letter, the two congressmen said Shaub should recommend an appropriate punishment to the White House because the case represents an “inherent conflict of interest” for President Trump. The disciplinary action, Chaffetz and Cummings wrote, could include “reprimand, suspension, demotion or dismissal.”

“Conway’s statements clearly violate the ethical principles for federal employees and are unacceptable,” the letter says. “The White House’s reported decision to counsel Conway supports this decision.”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said during his daily press briefing that Conway had been “counseled” after making the comments, but refused to elaborate on the nature of the discussion or who spoke with her.

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