Trump’s Ethics Lawyers Flipped Out Over Conway’s Ivanka Infomercial
Breaking Federal Law on live television
You love to hear the story again and again, of how Nordstrom’s made the decision to pull Ivanka Trump’s clothing line from their stores earlier last month. The best part? When President Donald Trump sprung into action—national security briefing be damned—and tweeted about how unfairly his daughter has been treated by the luxury department store. Sad!
My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2017
Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, we now know that just minutes after the above tweet was sent, David Apol, a top lawyer in the Office of Government Ethics, made a request to speak to Trump’s White House ethics lawyer regarding “an issue that has come up.”
BREAKING: House Oversight chairman calls White House aide's promotion of Ivanka Trump brand `clearly over the line, unacceptable'
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 9, 2017
Just one day after the President’s tweet and a flurry of emails between lawyers, Kellyanne Conway appeared on ‘Fox & Friends‘. During that appearance, she segued into infomercial mode, shouting out Ivanka Trump’s clothing line and encouraging Ameican citizens to buy lots of her zipper sweaters and crepe straight-leg pants. Stay classy White House!
Nordstrom’s has since defended their decision to drop the line, due to declining sales rather than political motives: “Over the past year, and particularly in the last half of 2016, sales of the brand have steadily declined to the point where it didn’t make good business sense for us to continue with the line for now. We’ve had a great relationship with the Ivanka Trump team. We’ve had open conversations with them over the past year to share what we’ve seen and Ivanka was personally informed of our decision in early January.”
(PS: they’re definitely not mad that their stock went up after the decision was announced.)
All of this went down before Conway sent Trump’s ethics committee into a tailspin. According to an email exchange between Apol and Trump’s lawyers obtained by NBC here’s what happened when the shit hit the fan:
“I own some of it. I fully—I’m going to just give it a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”
Just like that, Kellyanne Conway broke Federal Law, but which law exactly?
§ 2635.702 Use of public office for private gain.
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, including nonprofit organizations of which the employee is an officer or member, and persons with whom the employee has or seeks employment or business relations.
Watch Kellyanne Conway’s full remarks from her February 8th TV appearance.