Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, is under fire for potentially breaking the law while talking about Ivanka Trump on Fox News on February 8.
She was on the show to discuss the president's comments on Ivanka's clothing and handbag line.
Then on Wednesday, Donald Trump tweeted about Nordstrom.
This was viewed as not super ethical, considering Trump said he would avoid conflicts of interest by staying out of his family's businesses while serving the country as president.
But while the president's actions were suspicious, Conway's seemed to pretty clearly break the law.
Conway was on Fox News discussing the president's Nordstrom comment.
During the segment, she criticized women for criticizing Ivanka (in Conway's world, feminism means supporting ALL WOMEN FOREVER NO MATTER WHAT THEY ENDORSE... AS LONG AS THEY'RE NOT DEMOCRATS) and celebrating the success of the #GrabYourWallet boycott.
But Conway also spent time praising Ivanka's line — and urging viewers to buy it.
As the hosts tried to interrupt to ask a question, Conway asserted,
Conway then claimed #GrabYourWallet and the Women's March were failures. Conway interrupted herself to say,
According to some experts, Conway's "free commercial" was also totally illegal.
Jonathan Chait over at New York magazine said Conway's action "appears to be completely illegal."
He made this analysis based on federal law from the Office of Government Ethics. That law says,
In other words, government employees, like Conway, are very much not allowed to say "go buy my friend's product."
(Brief aside to call out the sexism in those rules only using male pronouns.)
Attorneys and experts agree that broke the law for Ivanka.
Don W. Fox, former general counsel and acting director of the Office of Government Ethics, told The Washington Post,
He went on to say that this was "jaw-dropping" to him.
Even Peter Schweizer, who wrote the book "Clinton Cash," which went after the Clinton Foundation, told The Washington Post the Trump administration "crossed a very, very important bright line, and it's not good." He said,
The typical punishment for this, a lawyer said, is a suspension and loss of pay.
Citations: Kellyanne Conway's Endorsement of Ivanka Products Apparently Violates Federal Law (New York Magazine), Office of Government Ethics, Conway may have broken key ethics rule by touting Ivanka Trump's products, experts say (The Washington Post)