White House adviser Kellyanne Conway will not face disciplinary action for promoting first daughter Ivanka Trump's clothing and accessory line during a television appearance, after the White House determined that Conway acted "without nefarious motive," CNN reported Wednesday.
"Upon completion of our inquiry, we concluded that Ms. Conway acted inadvertently and is highly unlikely to do so again," Stefan C. Passantino, a White House deputy counsel for compliance and ethics, wrote in a letter to the Office of Government Ethics.
The question about whether Conway broke White House ethics rules arose in February when Conway said, "Go buy Ivanka's stuff!" during an appearance on Fox and Friends. She made the remark after Nordstrom announced it was dropping Ivanka Trump's clothing line due to poor performance.
Federal ethics rules ban government officials from using their official role to help promote the financial interests of friends and relatives.
A bipartisan group of members of Congress cried foul about Conway's promotion of Ivanka Trump's business, with House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings sending a letter to the OGE saying Conway's behavior "raised extremely serious concerns."
The OGE responded, saying they had "strong reason to believe" Conway broke ethics rules and asked the White House to "consider taking disciplinary action."
The White House, however, did not heed the OGE's advice. Conway, the White House decided, "made the statement in question in a light, off-hand manner while attempting to stand up for a person she believed had been unfairly treated and did so without nefarious motive or intent to benefit personally."
Democrats, for their part, are displeased with the decision.
"It's a very bad sign that the president chose not to discipline Ms. Conway for blatantly violating the law," Cummings wrote in a letter to the OGE. "Other federal employees would likely be suspended for engaging in this conduct, and White House officials should not be held to a different standard."