Sharing an Ivanka Trump tweet promoting her new book may break ethics rules
Think before you tweet.
The State Department may have made an ethics mistake on Friday when it retweeted a post promoting Ivanka Trump’s book, ABC News reported.
Someone from the Office of Global Women’s Issues, a small division which works to empower women and girls through U.S. foreign policy, shared a post by the White House senior advisor and First Daughter promoting her new book, “Women Who Work,” under the department’s official Twitter account. The tweet showed Tiffany Trump and sister-in-law Lara Trump reading the book, along with the caption, “Thank you to my beautiful sisters for the support of my #WomenWhoWorkBook!”
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) May 4, 2017
But after journalists pointed out the ethical quandary of the State Department appearing to endorse a product that could profit a government official, the retweet was deleted.
The shared post could break the laws barring those in public office from 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,” according to the Code of Federal Regulations. So retweeting a promo for a fellow government official’s book using a government Twitter account is questionable.
Ivanka Trump has said she wouldn’t go on tour to push her book “out of an abundance of caution and to avoid the appearance of using my official role to promote the book.” But she has been using her own personal social media to promote it, which the ethics watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington says is fine. Still, the organization slammed the State Department’s retweet of her post.
Can we just go ONE WEEK without an ethics issue coming out of the Trump administration? https://t.co/r8AZw1yhkh
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) May 5, 2017
The State Department stepped into a similar ethical dilemma last week over a blog post that critics argue promoted President Trump’s private golf club Mar-a-Lago, dubbing the estate the “winter White House.” The department was pressured to remove the post and apologize in response to the public outcry. And presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway raised eyebrows and ethics concerns in February when she told viewers, “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff,” during a television interview, adding, “I’m going to give a free commercial here; Go buy it today, everybody; you can find it online.” In response, she was “counseled” on behavior like that, according to White House spokesman Sean Spicer.
The Trump administration isn’t alone in raising eyebrows over ethics this week. Last year, former President Barack Obama vetoed a bill that would have capped the pensions of former commander-in-chiefs at $200,000 a year if they took outside income of $400,000 or more. But Obama recently accepted a $400,000 fee for an upcoming Wall Street speech, which has critics arguing his veto was self-serving.
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