A watchdog group, known for scrutinizing executive branch activity, has called on the U.S. Office of Government Ethics to investigate Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump for having violated federal ethics rules barring employees from using their public office for private gain by wearing her brand of clothing at official government events.
The group Democracy Forward wrote a letter to the office on Tuesday, asking them to investigate “whether Ms. Trump is coordinating directly with IT Collection or third party celebrity style publications that serve to connect consumers with featured products.”
Ben Seel, a lead policy analyst for Democracy Forward, spoke to Newsweek saying, “She should, at a minimum, know better than to be using public office in a way that either directly or indirectly promotes her brand that she’s profiting from and has failed to divest from.”
Democracy Forward was triggered to demand an investigation after a Wall Street Journal report in late December revealed that Ivanka wore clothing from her company IT Collection LLC in 46 out of 68, or 68 percent, of pictures she posted on her social media accounts between March and October.
“Given Ivanka’s success and experience as a style and fashion marketer, it piques our interest—is there coordination that’s going on between her and these third party sites that are taking images and putting them out there directly for consumers, for retailers to sell that specific item?” Democracy Forward spokeswoman Charisma Troiano told Newsweek.
Ivanka responded to the Journal’s report from last month by saying, “If what motivated me was to grow my businesses and make money, I would have stayed in New York and done just that.”
Former director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub blasted Trump’s daughter, saying her excuse was “laughable.”
Democracy Forward did not set a deadline in its letter, but are hopeful that the office will act soon.
“I don’t know that we’re sitting around holding our breaths for a response,” Seel said. “They have this clear task in front of them and they hopefully will do so expeditiously.”