Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a nonpartisan government watchdog organization, filed a complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) against the first daughter on Thursday — just days after the federal agency recommended the removal of White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway for her own Hatch Act violations. Ivanka's alleged violations stem from a tweet she posted on June 16, which includes an image of her father’s "Make America Great Again" campaign poster and the caption "the best is yet to come."
Four years ago today, I introduced my father @realDonaldTrump when he launched a Campaign that would forever change America.— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 16, 2019
Because of his courage, Americans are safer and more prosperous...and the best is yet to come!
Happy Father’s Day! ?? pic.twitter.com/ygcbg3URQx
In a letter, CREW recommended that the OSC, part of the Department of Justice, conduct an immediate investigation or take disciplinary action. It cited a new OSC guideline written following U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement he’d be running for reelection in 2018: “While on duty or in the workplace, employees may not: wear, display, or distribute items with the slogan ‘Make America Great Again’ or any other materials from U.S. President Trump’s 2016 or 2020 campaigns; use hashtags such as #MAGA or #ResistTrump in social media posts or other forums; or display non-official pictures of U.S. President Trump.” (Ivanka’s tweet clearly displayed the “Make America Great Again” slogan on her father’s campaign poster.)
The watchdog group argued that Ivanka’s Twitter account, which has over 6.5 million followers, has been used continuously for official government purposes, despite saying it is a “Personal Pg.” and that “views are [her] own” in the bio, which also includes her “Advisor to POTUS” job title. Thus, Ivanka's partisan Twitter activity can easily be read as that of a government employee, albeit an unpaid one, using her official position to promote political campaign issues.
“It has become clear that this rampant abuse of public office is not a problem of ‘one bad apple’ but rather a key feature of the Trump White House,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement provided to Refinery29. “By blatantly using her office for politics right after the Office of Special Counsel recommended her colleague be fired for repeatedly acting similarly, Ivanka Trump has basically thumbed her nose at the OSC and the rule of law. Never before have we witnessed this level of illegal politicized behaviour, and it must not be allowed to continue.”
By "her colleague," Bookbinder is presumably referring to Conway, who has been reprimanded for several ethics violations during her time as counsellor to the president. The OSC sent U.S. President Trump a report detailing numerous occasions in which Conway violated the Hatch Act, recommending her removal from federal office. The White House counsel responded with a letter asking that the agency withdraw the recommendation, and the OSC declined the request.
Special Counsel Henry Kerner, a Trump appointee, called Conway’s behaviour “unprecedented.” Last week, the White House defended Conway’s actions as “her constitutional rights to free speech and due process.”
Refinery29 has reached out to the White House, and we'll update this story when we hear back.