Chaffetz, Cummings Ask OGE To Review Conway’s Possible Ethics Violations

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February 9, 2017 2:48 p.m.

The chair and ranking members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday asked the the Office of Government Ethics to recommend possible disciplinary action to the White House after a senior adviser to the President, Kellyanne Conway, hawked Ivanka Trump’s clothing line on television.

“As director of OGE, you have the authority to review potential ethics violations and notify the employee’s agency, which in this case is the White House,” Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) wrote to OGE Director Walter M. Shaub, Jr. on Thursday in a joint letter. “In this case, there is an additional challenge, which is that the President, as the ultimate disciplinary authority for White House employees, has an inherent conflict of interest since Conway’s statements relate to his daughter’s private business.”

Chaffetz and Cummings wrote that Conway’s statements “clearly violate the ethical principles for federal employees and are unacceptable.”

The bipartisan letter is notable given that Chaffetz and Cummings have had a remarkably contentious relationship, most memorably over the Benghazi attack and subsequent investigations.

The letter asked Shaub to exercise the authority granted to him in the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to “review Conway’s statements and act promptly on the basis of your findings,” and report on any disciplinary recommendations that OGE makes to the Trump administration regarding Conway.

Around the same time Chaffetz shared the letter online, a spokesperson for Donald Trump was quoted by the Associated Press saying the President “absolutely” stood by Conway.

Trump, the spokesperson said, “understands she was merely sticking up for a wonderful woman who she has great respect for and felt was treated unfairly.”

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Thursday that Conway had been “counseled on that subject, and that’s it.”

Several outlets and reporters then tweeted quotes from Chaffetz, who called Conway’s comments “wholly unacceptable” and “clearly over the line.” A member of Chaffetz’s staff confirmed to TPM the statements the congressman made to the press.


Earlier on Thursday, the ranking Cummings said Conway’s comments appeared to be a “textbook violation” of federal ethics law.

Read the letter below:

This article has been updated.

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