While many of Donald Trump's tweets have been controversial, one of his most recent ones led to a warning to federal employees by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE).
Ironically, the warning was issued by the OGE in a tweet of its own, but we'll get to that.
The whole thing started on Thursday.
After Trump learned that activists had called for a boycott of retailer LL. Bean — due to a $60,000 donation to a Trump Super PAC by Linda Bean, a granddaughter of the founder — the president-elect took to Twitter to thank Bean for her support. No problem.
But that part at the end — “Buy L.L. Bean”? Problem:
As reported by Yahoo! News, while the OGE did not mention Trump by name, the timing of the tweet caused a bit of a stir on Twitter.
Some Twitter users applauded the OEG:
@OfficeGovEthics So you mean POTUS won't be able to shill for LLBean? How is that even a question?
— Lorenzo Montezemolo (@elmofoto) January 13, 2017
@OfficeGovEthics Thanks. How can we support the OGE? America needs you now more than ever before.
— hulibow (@hulibow) January 13, 2017
@OfficeGovEthics Thank you for doing your job and reminding all about ethics rules. Be strong...we the people support you.
— elaineb (@esweep1) January 13, 2017
This user believes the OEG has the authority to stop Trump from tweeting, altogether:
— Judith Kaufman (@judesterworld) January 13, 2017
Other users came to Trump's defense:
— Morning in America (@prosecutingUSA) January 13, 2017
— TP (@Vmarius123) January 13, 2017
@OfficeGovEthics No one ever even heard of this asswipe until 2 days ago - just another partisan hack
— Frozen Tundra CC (@CapCube) January 13, 2017
In answer to that last tweet, the “a**wipe” is Walter M. Schaub Jr., who posted a “refresher” on the OGE website.
Executive branch employees are subject to an important set of ethics rules contained in the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch.
These rules serve to guard the federal service against ethical problems that could undermine public confidence in the integrity of the government’s operations.
- Using public office for their own private gain, for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom they are affiliated in a non-government capacity
- Endorsing any product, service, or company
- Engaging in financial transactions using nonpublic information, or allowing the improper use of nonpublic information to further private interests
- Misusing government property or official time.
It is important that every executive branch employee be aware of the rule against misuse of position.
As Yahoo! correctly states, many rules for federal employees don't apply to the president.
Under Title 18, Section 208 of the U.S. code, the president and vice president are mostly exempt from federal conflict of interest laws, as reported by CBS News. But as CBS also points out, presidents are subject to the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
“No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
One wonders what would've occurred under the Emoluments Clause had Hillary Clinton won the presidency, due to her dealings with the Clinton Foundation.