The homepage for the nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics went down Thursday as ethics questions involving the Trump administration swirled in the wake of senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway's suggestion that Americans "buy Ivanka's stuff." However, individual pages linked to the site appeared to be available, including the form for reporting an ethics violation. Federal ethics rules prohibit executive branch employees from using 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." Enforcement, however, is left to the agency for which the offender works, in this case the White House. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Conway had been "counseled, and that's all we're going to say," the Associated Press reported.
In a series of tweets posted Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) said that its website, email and phone systems have crashed due to "an extraordinary volume of contacts from citizens about recent events." SEE ALSO: Melania Trump sues'Daily Mail' for ruining her, um, chance to make millions While none of the tweets specifically named President Trump or any of his associates involved in stories surrounding questionable ethics this week -- including wife Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump, and White House aide Kellyanne Conway -- the timing of the flood of inquiries implies a connection to recent controversies. As do additional statements made in tweets by the office. The OGE's follow-up tweets didn't elaborate on the nature of the crash but did give insight into the office's role, noting it doesn't have the authority to investigate claims of ethical violations. OGE does not have investigative or enforcement authority.
Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway should be investigated over her promotion of Ivanka Trump's products, a government ethics advisory body says. The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) found reason to believe Ms Conway had violated ethics rules, five days after she urged people to buy the president's daughter's range on Fox News. Her comments prompted complaints from both Democrats and Republicans. They have now been backed by the OGE, which is an independent body. In a letter on Tuesday, it advises the White House to investigate and possibly discipline Ms Conway.
FILE - In this May 10, 2017 file photo, Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to President Donald Trump, speaks during an interview outside the White House, in Washington. The White House on May 31 posted on its website ethics waivers granted to four ex-lobbyists and numerous others who have joined government. In all, the White House has granted 14 ethics waivers. Conway is permitted under an ethics waiver issued to her to contact and interact with clients of her political polling company.(AP
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. Conway, speaking to "Fox & Friends" viewers from the White House briefing room, was responding to boycotts of Ivanka Trump merchandise and Nordstrom's discontinuation of stocking her clothing and shoe lines. "I'm going to give it a free commercial here," Conway said of the president's daughter's merchandise brand. Conway and officials from the White House and the Office of Government Ethics did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.