Cummings Asks Chaffetz to Refer Top Trump Aide for Potential Disciplinary Action
Washington, D.C. (Feb. 9, 2017)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Chairman Jason Chaffetz requesting that the Committee refer for potential disciplinary action statements made on national television by Kellyanne Conway, the Counselor to President Donald Trump, that directly promoted and endorsed the President’s daughter’s private business.
“This appears to be a textbook violation of government ethics laws and regulations enacted to prevent the abuse of an employee’s government position,” Cummings wrote. “Since the Committee has direct jurisdiction over the ethics laws applicable to White House employees, I request that the Committee make an official referral of this matter to the Office of Government Ethics and request that it report back to the Committee as soon as possible with its findings.”
Cummings referred to comments made by Conway this morning on Fox News, urging viewers to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff,” and stating, “I’m going to just give a free commercial here. Go buy it today everybody. You can find it online.”
Federal regulations state that an “employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.”
Under the section of these regulations entitled “Corrective Action Involving Individual Employees,” the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) has authority to review potential violations and recommend discipline ranging from suspension to loss of pay to removal.
Don W. Fox, the former General Counsel and Acting Director of OGE, called Conway’s comments “jaw-dropping” and “a clear violation of rules prohibiting misuse of public office for anyone’s private gain.”
Click here to read the letter.