President Donald Trump is blurring the lines between his presidential duties and personal business responsibility by offering his staff members discounts on his merchandise, reported Politico.
Politico reviewed receipts for White House staffers that confirmed discounts between 15-70 percent off. Ivanka Trump allegedly pitched the idea to her father as a nice gesture to aides, but White House officials denied the claim.
The practice of offering White House officials discounts highlights a huge ethical dilemma for the president.
"It's prohibited under the standards of conduct for any government employee to accept a gift because of their official position,” Virginia Canter, chief ethics counsel at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics told Politico. “The fact is, people's access to that facility is extremely limited. It's not open to all government employees. It’s limited to staff who have access to the facility and second of all, who are given access to the Secret Service pin. It’s not ok.”
Some White House staffers were unaware of the perks. “I overpaid, big time. Part of me wishes I knew. Part of me is glad I didn’t," a former official said.
Norm Eisen, who served as the ethics czar under former President Barack Obama said that this is one of the practices for how President Trump secures "loyalty."
“It does have an effect on how Trump tries to secure personal loyalty and woo people away from what should be their primary and their only loyalty — to the Constitution, to public service and to the people of the United States,” Eisen said. “This is another small inducement, apparently contrary to federal law, that he uses to bind his staff to him personally.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not comment on the allegations.