One day after Donald Trump sent a tweet urging his followers to “Buy L.L. Bean,” the Office of Government Ethics published an online “refresher” outlining the rules on endorsements that elected officials are expected to follow.
The Friday post on the OGE’s site noted that government employees are prohibited from using their office for the private gain of “friends, relatives, or persons with whom they are affiliated in a non-government capacity,” as well as from “endorsing any product, service or company.”
Trump had expressed support for the retailer after the Associated Press revealed that the founder’s granddaughter, Linda Bean, exceeded the Federal Election Commission’s allowable limit by donating $60,000 to the pro-Trump Make America Great Again PAC.
Some called for a boycott of L.L. Bean after the story came out, prompting Trump to send a tweet thanking Bean for her “courage” and telling his supporters to purchase the company’s products.
Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L.Bean for your great support and courage. People will support you even more now. Buy L.L.Bean. @LBPerfectMaine
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2017
Politico noted that Trump will be forbidden from sending these sorts of missives once he is sworn in on Jan. 20 because President Barack Obama enacted a policy expanding the OGE prohibition on endorsements to the Oval Office.
While Trump can order his White House counsel Don McGahn to revoke that policy, such a move would be unlikely to diminish scrutiny of the President-elect’s ethics practices.