President Trump's official counselor, Kellyanne Conway, may have broken a key ethics rule Thursday morning when she told TV audiences to "go buy Ivanka's stuff." Federal employees are banned from using their public office to endorse products, regulations state.''


"I'm going to give it a free commercial here," Conway said of the president's daughter's merchandise brand. "Go buy it today."


Don W. Fox, former general counsel and former acting director of OGE, told The Washington Post that "Conway's encouragement to buy Ivanka's stuff would seem to be a clear violation of rules prohibiting misuse of public office for anyone's private gain." He added: "This is jaw-dropping to me. This rule has been promulgated by the federal Office of Government Ethics as part of the Standards of Conduct for all executive branch employees and it applies to all members of the armed forces as well."

Enforcement measures are largely left to the head of the federal agency -- in Conway's case, the White House. One lawyer said a typical executive-branch employee who violated the rule could face significant disciplinary action, including a multi-day suspension and loss of pay.

Conway's endorsement comes as the Trump administration faces growing scrutiny over whether it is taking fears of conflicts of interest seriously.

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