Office of Government Ethics: 'Strong Reason' to Think Conway Violated Rules

Image: Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau, Kellyanne Conway
Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to President Donald Trump, watches during a meeting with parents and teachers, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)Evan Vucci / AP

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By Andrew Rafferty

The Office of Government Ethics warned the White House there is “strong reason” to believe presidential aide Kellyanne Conway violated ethics rules and that disciplinary action is warranted in a letter made public on Tuesday.

OGE Director Walter Shaub said Conway's urging of Americans to buy Ivanka Trump’s products during a television interview from the White House briefing room “would establish a clear violation of the prohibition against misuse of position.”

The OGE letter comes in response to a bipartisan inquiry into the incident the top ranking Republican and Democrat on the House Oversight Committee.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Conway had been “counseled” for the incident. But Shaub said his office has not received any notification of disciplinary action.

"Go buy Ivanka's stuff, is what I was [saying] — I hate shopping and I'm going to go get some myself today," Conway said on Fox News in response to a question about some retailers no longer promoting Ivanka Trump’s products. The letter notes that both the White House seal and an American flag were framed behind her.

Federal law bars federal branch employees from profiting off their jobs.

“Under the present circumstances, there is strong reason to believe that Ms. Conway has violated the Standards of Conduct and that disciplinary action is warranted,” the letter states.

Shaub asked White House lawyers to notify the OGE of the findings of the investigation or corrective actions taken by Feb. 28.