“Clearly a Violation”
Government ethics experts across the nation are denouncing Ivanka Trump’s late-night endorsement of Goya Foods as a violation of law – and ethics – especially as it comes just days after the company’s CEO appeared on national television in the Rose Garden of the White House to praise President Donald Trump.
“If it’s Goya, it has to be good,” the First Daughter and Senior Advisor to the President tweeted Tuesday night, with the statement repeated in Spanish. In her tweet Ivanka Trump is displaying a can of Goya black beans by holding it with her right hand and suggestively motioning to it with her left, as many do when endorsing a product.
If it’s Goya, it has to be good.
Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno. pic.twitter.com/9tjVrfmo9z
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) July 15, 2020
Walter Shaub, who has become America’s most prominent government ethics expert, weighed in Wednesday morning on Trump’s tweet with a lengthy thread on Twitter. He says her endorsement is “clearly a violation” of federal law.
“Ms. Trump’s Goya tweet is clearly a violation of the government’s misuse of position regulation, 5 C.F.R. § 2635.702. Ms. Trump has had ethics training. She knows better. But she did it anyway because no one in this administration cares about government ethics,” Shaub says.
He supports his call with several facts.
If you tout the company’s product in an obvious response to the backlash the company is facing for the CEO’s remarks about your father-president, you knowingly link your account in people’s minds to your official activities; you create the appearance of official sanction. /4
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 15, 2020
“There’s a particularly unseemly aspect to this violation,” Shaub adds, noting that “it creates the appearance that the government’s endorsement is for sale. Endorse the president and the administration will endorse your product.”
Shaub, who was the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics for four and a half years, under President Barack Obama and until July of 2017, under President Trump, is far from the only government ethics expert speaking out.
NBC News Correspondent covering politics and government ethics:
Office of Govt Ethics:
“An employee shall not use his public
office for his own private gain, for the
endorsement of any product, service or
enterprise, or for the private gain of
friends, relatives, or persons with
whom the employee is affiliated”https://t.co/iA6HYvzOOy https://t.co/zpdjFDh6xz
— Heidi Przybyla (@HeidiNBC) July 15, 2020
Political scientist at the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver:
A West Wing employee is advertising a commercial product in return for that company’s CEO having endorsed the President.
People used to get fired for this shit. https://t.co/NbMhl29fXL
— Seth Masket (@smotus) July 15, 2020
Former Senior Adviser to Hillary Clinton and the DNC, former Harry Reid Communications Director:
Yeah…so this is illegal. https://t.co/wXYKdxjwrT
— Zac Petkanas (@Zac_Petkanas) July 15, 2020
Former White House Special Counsel for Ethics and Government Reform, now a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution:
5 CFR § 2635.702(c): An employee shall not use…his government position… to endorse any product, service or enterprise.
Her Twitter bio claims account is personal but notes: “Advisor to POTUS.”
This would have been a serious offense in the Obama White House, or any other. https://t.co/SXV6vzuIeC
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) July 15, 2020