UPDATED: Ivanka Trump May Have Violated Federal Ethics Law With Goya Promotional Tweet


Image via Twitter/@/IvankaTrump

By Araceli Cruz

July 15, 2020

The Office of Government Ethics director said Ivanka Trump’s Goya tweet was an ethics violation.

Days after Latinos said they would be boycotting Goya, the First Daughter and Senior Advisor to President Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump tweeted an image of herself exhibiting a can of Goya black beans. She captioned the picture with Goya’s slogan: “If it’s Goya, it has to be good. Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno.” The image surprised many on social media because government officials cannot promote products. Doing so would be a violation of federal ethics laws

President Donald Trump also posted a Goya promotional image on his Instagram page, Wednesday afternoon. Trump’s image inside the White House features several Goya products. Earlier today, Trump tweeted, “@GoyaFoods is doing GREAT. The Radical Left smear machine backfired, people are buying like crazy!” The Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub responded to that by tweeting, “Here is further proof that Ivanka’s tweet was done in her official capacity. The administration is pushing Goya in exchange for the endorsement the company’s CEO gave Trump. Whether or not expressly coordinated, Ivanka’s tweet is a part of that effort. It’s an ethics violation.”


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) linked back to Ivanka’s tweet with her own Spanish tagline, “If it’s Trump, it has to be corrupt.” Liz Mair, a Republican political consultant, tweeted, “You’re about to get dinged for a violation of ethics rules that apply to you as a White House staffer.” Celebrity Chrissy Teigen tweeted, “had it with anyone who EVER defends this woman or puts her as the ‘sane’ one in this family. What a repulsive trolling of the people. Also (in the SEA of illegal sh** this family does) is this even ethically ok or legal??”

WATCH: CEO of Goya Has Come Under Fire for Praising Trump

Ivanka’s promotion of Goya, which she posted on Instagram as well, falls under a violation of ethics that directly states executive-branch employees may not endorse any product. 

Cornell Law School provides this context: “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 in a nongovernmental capacity, including nonprofit organizations of which the employee is an officer or member, and persons with whom the employee has or seeks employment or business relations.” 

Related: As Latinos, Food Is Our Identity. That’s Why I’m Boycotting Goya.

Today, the Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub tweeted, “Yes, the Goya tweet was an ethics violation.” He went on to say in a lengthy Twitter thread that “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.”


It’s not the first time

Ivanka’s promotion of Goya isn’t the first time the Trump administration has been accused of violating the ethical code. In 2017, Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the president, appeared on “Fox & Friends” and went on to endorse Ivanka’s fashion line. Conway said live on the air, “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I was [saying] — I hate shopping, and I’m going to go get some myself today.” Conway made those comments after it was reported that several retail companies had dropped Ivanka’s brand

In this instance, Shaub informed the White House that he had “strong reason to believe that Ms. Conway has violated the Standards of Conduct.” Conway, however, was never reprimanded for her comments. White House deputy counsel Stefan Passantino stated that Conway had “acted inadvertently.”

Related: Latinos Boycott Goya After CEO Says U.S. Is “Truly Blessed” With Trump

On July 10, Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue spoke at a White House event and said, “We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder, and that’s what my grandfather did.”  

The controversy following Unanue’s comments glorifying Trump — a president who’s expressed racist rhetoric against Latinos and promoted anti-immigration policies — sparked a boycott of Goya’s products. The hashtags #boycottgoya and #Goyaway started trending on Twitter soon after that. Some Trump supporters began their own social media movement and shared they would be buying Goya products. 

This story has been updated to include President Donald Trump’s Instagram post on Wednesday afternoon.




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