Senators Urge White House Counsel to Remind White House Staff of Conflicts of Interest Laws

Senators request White House Counsel's guidance for staff after Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to President Trump, publicly endorses Ivanka Trump's fashion line

WASHINGTON—Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) urged the White House Counsel to take decisive action to end the troubling pattern of apparently blatant conflicts of interest plaguing the Trump Administration.

Counselor to President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway, appeared on Fox News yesterday from the White House briefing room, entreating viewers to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff” and “I’m going to just give a free commercial here. Go buy it today everybody. You can find it online.”  The Senators note in a letter sent today that this is just one of many illustrations of potential breaches of federal conflict of interest law in the less than three weeks of Donald Trump’s tenure. Other incidents include questions about whether Trump International Hotel violated a General Services Administration lease; doubling of membership fees at the Trump Organization’s “Winter White House” in West Palm Beach, Florida, before the President’s first visit; the Defense Department leasing space in Trump Tower; and First Lady Melania Trump claiming in legal proceedings her new position is a “unique, once-in-a-lifetime” business opportunity.”

The Senators write, “This pattern of behavior, in conjunction with President Trump’s failure to follow the advice of the Office of Government Ethics concerning his own assets, suggests that ethics violations will continue to plague this Administration throughout the length of its tenure. This not only distracts us all from the important matters facing our country now, but it denigrates the esteem with which our government is held at home and abroad. We urge you to act decisively to address these concerns and, in the interest of transparency, make public any guidance provided by your office to White House staff to prevent further ethical violations.”

Full text of the letter is here and below.