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Ivanka Trump might be the latest White House official to break the law

The first daughter posed with a can of Goya beans in apparent violation of an ethics law barring White House staff from promoting products.

By Emily Singer - July 15, 2020
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Ivanka Trump

First daughter Ivanka Trump could find herself in legal hot water after she posted a photo of herself holding up a can of Goya beans under the text of the food company’s motto.

Ivanka Trump posted the photo to her Twitter account in support of the company, which has come under fire since Goya’s CEO Bob Unanue praised Donald Trump at a White House event last week.

“Mr. President, what can I tell you? I’m so blessed to be here in the most prosperous country in the world, the greatest country in the world. And we’re so blessed to have you as our leader, as we continue to build this country and make it — continue to make it the most prosperous nation in the world,” Unanue said at the event, a so-called roundtable with Hispanic leaders on July 9.

 

According to the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch:

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.

Ivanka Trump wouldn’t be the first Trump administration official to violate this law.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was accused of violating the same law in 2017, when she promoted Ivanka Trump’s fashion brand during an interview with Fox News in the White House briefing room.

“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would say,” Conway said. “I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody; you can find it online.”

Conway was never punished for the ethical breach, but then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Conway had been “counseled on the subject.

Conway has also violated the Hatch Act — a law barring federal employees from engaging in partisan politics in their official capacity — at least 50 times, according to a report issued by the good government group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington last October.

But the Office of Special Counsel has refused to punish Conway for the violations, about which the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing in June 2019.

“Since OSC’s decision in June, it has been very obvious from Conway’s continuing violations that she considers herself to be above the law. The White House will not hold Conway accountable for her violations, and instead seems to be encouraging them,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington executive director Noah Bookbinder said in an October 2019 news release. “It is long past time for the abuses to stop.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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