Government ethics office website down after Conway promotes Ivanka Trump clothing line

Government ethics office website down after Conway promotes Ivanka Trump clothing line

The Office of Government Ethics website has been down for several hours on Thursday after it reported a surge in contacts from members of the public.

The office tweeted that the “website, phone system and email system are receiving an extraordinary volume of contacts from citizens about recent events.”

While the office didn't offer a reason for the surge, it follows a liberal watchdog's public complaint to the ethics office asking the government to investigate comments from senior White House aide Kellyanne Conway promoting Ivanka Trump’s designer line.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday afternoon that Conway had been "counseled" after she promoted Ivanka's merchandise in an interview from the White House, telling Fox News viewers to "go buy Ivanka's stuff."

The ethics office noted that it does not specifically conduct investigations but “contacts the agency, provides guidance & asks them to notify OGE of any action taken" when they hear of any "possible ethics violation."

An official from the office confirmed to Politico that the outage was due to high traffic to the website.

The website reportedly had 300,000 page requests on its website in all of 2016 and has already had 5 million hits this year, Politico's Eric Geller reported.

The office also sent training videos to ethics officials Thursday that could have contributed to the exceeded bandwidth.