Ethics office: White House should investigate Conway for Ivanka Trump plug

NEW YORK — The Office of Government Ethics is suggesting that the White House take disciplinary action against Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser to President Trump, for endorsing Ivanka Trump’s products in a TV interview.

Walter Shaub, the director of the ethics office, wrote in a letter to the White House that there is “strong reason to believe” Conway violated ethics standards and that disciplinary action is warranted. He suggested that the White House open an investigation.

Shaub likened what Conway did to appearing in a TV commercial.

Conway said in a Fox News Channel interview last week that people should “go buy Ivanka’s stuff.” A day earlier, the president had attacked the Nordstrom department store chain for treating Ivanka Trump unfairly.

Shaub sent the letter to the White House after a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the House Oversight Committee asked the agency to look into Conway.

The ethics office itself has no enforcement power.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said last week that Conway had been “counseled.” Conway later said that Trump “supports me 100%.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Conway was appearing on “Fox & Friends” from the White House on Thursday when an interviewer raised the subject of Ivanka Trump. Conway praised the president’s daughter as a “very successful businesswoman” and a “champion for women empowerment.”

“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would tell you,” Conway said. “It’s a wonderful line. I own some of it. I fully — I’m going to just, I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”

Nordstrom has said it dropped Ivanka Trump products because they weren’t selling well.

Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, called it a “textbook violation of federal ethics rules.”

“The p[resident should follow the independent advice of the Office of Government Ethics to impose discipline on Ms. Conway,” he said in a statement.

The office of Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, the committee chairman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.