(SL) – Never has there been an administration with such little regard for ethics and the constitution before Donald Trump rigged his way into the White House. Whether it’s Trump’s refusal to let his companies go, his Muslim ban or Kellyanne Conway and her plug for Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, their disrespect is blatant.
“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would tell you … I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”
When the President’s Counselor uttered those words on television, as she stood in front of the White House seal, she clearly violated federal law, ethics regulations and traditional standards of conduct.
Richard Painter, who was an ethics lawyer for George W. Bush’s White House, would not say in an interview that Conway broke the law, but he was candid about what the regulation clearly prohibits.
“It is a violation of federal ethics regulations prohibiting use of public office for private gain for any government employee in an official speech, an official capacity TV interview or any similar communication to promote the products or services of a particular private business belonging to the employee’s own family, the president’s family, a friend, a campaign contributor or anyone else,” Painter said. “That was strictly forbidden in the Bush administration because it is illegal.”
A complaint against Conway was filed with the Office of Government Ethics and the White House Counsel, but little will probably happen. Following White House Spokesman Sean Spicer’s comments that Conway had been ‘counseled’, she’ll clearly get away with it.
The rules specify that public officials should not use their offices for their own private gain or the private gain of others, and it’s hard to find a clearer case than this. Some reports, point out that there’s a usual process for what should happen next, and how the administration proceeds will present a real test of the Trump administration’s view of ethics and the President’s promise to “drain the swamp.”
However with Trump allegedly upset with Spicer for telling the media that Kellyanne was counseled allegedly stating that it was unfair to her, I think one can tell where this is going to go.