Top adviser counselled over brand pitch on TV

Ms Conway (left) told TV viewers to "go buy Ivanka's stuff", referring to Ms Trump's fashion line of products.
Ms Conway told TV viewers to "go buy Ivanka's stuff", referring to Ms Trump's fashion line of products.

WASHINGTON • A top adviser to US President Donald Trump has been "counselled" after using a television appearance to promote the clothing and jewellery line sold under the brand of Mr Trump's daughter, the White House said.

The endorsement, in which Ms Kellyanne Conway told Fox News Channel viewers to "go buy Ivanka's stuff", appeared to violate a key ethics rule barring federal employees from using their public office to endorse products. The White House reaction was a rare acknowledgment of an ethical misstep.

Ms Conway's remarks on Thursday drew a sharp and unusual rebuke from a top Republican lawmaker, House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who said the comments were "absolutely wrong, wrong, wrong" and "clearly over the line".

Mr Chaffetz, who has resisted calls by Democrats to inves- tigate potential conflicts related to Mr Trump's businesses, joined the Oversight Committee's ranking Democrat, Mr Elijah Cummings of Maryland, in sending a letter to the Office of Government Ethics calling Ms Conway's comments "unacceptable".

The letter asked the agency to recommend discipline given that Mr Trump, who as Ms Conway's agency head would ordinarily take action, holds an "inherent conflict of interest" due to the involvement of his daughter's business. In a terse comment to reporters on Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Ms Conway had been "counselled on the subject" but did not say whether she would be disciplined.

THE WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2017, with the headline 'Top adviser counselled over brand pitch on TV'. Print Edition | Subscribe