WASHINGTON — Two watchdog groups Thursday filed ethics complaints against top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway for promoting Ivanka Trump's fashion line during a television interview.
"Go buy Ivanka's stuff," Conway, a counselor to President Trump, said Thursday during a Fox & Friends appearance from a White House briefing room.
"I own some of it," she said of Ivanka Trump's clothing line. "I'm ... going give it a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online."
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and Public Citizen lodged complaints with the Office of Government Ethics, alleging that Conway violated federal ethics rules that bar federal employees from endorsing products and businesses. CREW officials say Conway also may have broken a federal law that prohibits the use of public funds for non-official purposes.
Asked about Conway's actions, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters Thursday: "Kellyanne has been counseled ... on that subject." He would not elaborate.
Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, also called on the panel's Republican chairman, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, to formally refer the Conway matter to federal ethics regulators for potential disciplinary action.
Chaffetz told NBC News that Conway's remarks were "wholly unacceptable."
Conway's comments came a day after Donald Trump took to Twitter to slam Nordstrom for dropping his daughter's clothing line, complaining the department store chain treated Ivanka Trump "so unfairly." His actions and Conway's remarks Thursday sparked fresh questions about the new president's commitment to separate his official duties from his family's business interests.
The president said he has transferred management responsibilities for his real-estate and branding empire to his two adult sons and a longtime Trump Organization executive, but he has refused to relinquish an ownership stake in his companies.
“Anyone harboring illusions that there was some separation between the Trump administration and the Trump family businesses has had their fantasy shattered,” Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, said in a statement Thursday.
“Kellyanne Conway’s self-proclaimed advertisement for the Ivanka Trump fashion line demonstrates again what anyone with common sense already knew: President Trump and the Trump administration will use the government apparatus to advance the interests of the family businesses," he said.