Washington, March 10 (IANS) The US governments ethics watchdog said it was “concerned” the White House over its decision not to discipline presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway for publicly endorsing Ivanka Trumps products on TV, a media report said.
Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub on Thursday said he “concerned” about the Trump aide’s “misuse of position”, he wrote in a letter to deputy White House counsel Stefan Passantino, further arguing that her evading punishment risked “undermining the ethics programme”, the New York Daily News reported.
“Your letter concedes that her televised statements from the White House press briefing room implicated the prohibition on using one’s official position to endorse any product or service,” Shaub wrote.
“…Disciplinary action serves to deter future misconduct.”
The “scolding” came nine days after Passantino sent Shaub a letter assuring him that Conway had no “nefarious motive” in giving the First Daughter’s fashion line a flagrant free ad on Fox News last month.
A White House investigation into her actions “concluded that Conway acted inadvertently and is highly unlikely to do so again”, Passantino wrote on February 28, making no mention of any disciplinary action.
The White House on Thursday stood by its decision regarding Conway.
“The White House response made clear that the President takes ethical obligations of all his employees very seriously. The situation has been handled accordingly and all staff have received ethics training,” a spokesperson told the the New York Daily News.
“We are focused on the important obligation of improving the lives of all Americans.”
Conway’s urging TV viewers on February 9 to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff” — an attempt to support the businesswoman after luxury retailer Nordstrom dropped her brand — prompted the House Oversight Committee to send a letter notifying Shaub.