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Did Ivanka Trump cross an ethical line by promoting her book on Instagram? 


Since becoming an unpaid adviser to the president, Ivanka Trump has vowed not to promote her newest book, Women Who Work, with a tour and media appearances. She will also donate proceeds from the book to charity. Her reasons for doing this appear to be to stay within the ethical lines laid out within the code of government ethics, which forbids government employees to use their public office for private gain. But then she posted a video of her on Instagram dancing with her sons with a caption explicitly promoting her book.

The Daily Mail reports that Ivanka received advice from the Office of Government Ethics that she could use her personal social media accounts to promote her book. However, the ethical line here is very blurry, since the Trump family has not divested from their business interests: It is impossible to determine how much their current high-profile political roles are boosting their ability to make money from the many tentacles of their brand, from Ivanka’s clothing line to the family’s hotels. 

Experts disagree on the ethics of the situation. Norm Eisen, President Barack Obama’s chief ethics attorney, told the Daily Mail that this was a clear violation of ethical norms. But Richard Painter, who served in an ethics role under President George W. Bush, said it would only be a violation if she was using the book to sell clothes.  

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