It may not be illegal to use the prestige of government service to positively impact one’s private sector business pursuits, “but criminal conflict of interest law prohibits federal officials, like Trump and her husband [Jared Kushner], from participating in government matters that could impact their own financial interest or that of their spouse,” the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
Earlier this month Ivanka Trump Marks LLC won provisional approval from the Chinese government for three trademarks for her line of jewelry, handbags, and spa services — which protects her brand by giving the company exclusive rights to sell it in that country.
AP reported, without providing sources or links, that the trademarks were approved on the same night that Trump and Ivanka’s husband dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Fla. home, adding that they ate “steak and Dover sole.”
“The scenario underscores how difficult it is for Trump, who has tried to distance herself from the brand that bears her name, to separate business from politics in her new position at the White House,” AP reported.
The AP story does include some facts that disclose what the first daughter, who is serving as an adviser to her father, has done to take steps to address even the “appearance” of ethical concerns or conflict of interest, including a statement from Trump’s attorney.
“Ivanka will not weigh in on business strategy, marketing issues, or the commercial terms of agreements,” Jamie Gorelick said in a statement. “She has retained authority to direct the trustees to terminate agreements that she determines create a conflict of interest or the appearance of one.”
“China, however, remains a nagging concern,” AP reported.
“Ivanka has so many China ties and conflicts, yet she and Jared appear deeply involved in China contacts and policy,” Norman Eisen, who served as chief White House ethics lawyer under Barack Obama said in the AP report.
“I would never have allowed it. For their own sake, and the country’s, Ivanka and Jared should consider stepping away from China matters,” Eisen said.
AP reported that Ivanka’s fashion business ventures are doing exceedingly well:
The number of Ivanka Trump items sold through [the fashion website] Lyst was 46 percent higher the month her father was elected president than in November 2015. Sales spiked 771 percent in February over the same month last year. In March sales on Lyst were up 262 percent over the same period last year.
Net sales for Trump’s G-III Apparel Group Ltd. clothing line increased by $17.9 million during the year that ended Jan. 31.
“Her brand is flourishing, despite boycotts and several stores limiting her merchandise,” AP reported, noting that U.S. imports, almost all from China, rose some 166 percent last year with sales hitting record levels in 2017.
AP noted that during the summit with Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping, Ivanka Trump’s 5-year-old daughter Arabella sang a Chinese song in Mandarin. The video of the performance was viewed over 2.2 million times on Chinese state media.
Ivanka Trump's children sang to the Chinese President in Mandarin pic.twitter.com/lxMuvj4UXg
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) April 8, 2017
In February, after remarks in support of Trump’s fashion and beauty line were made by President Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, Nordstrom announced it would no longer sell the brand.
A Breitbart News exclusive revealed that the move by the retailer backfired:
Retail department store Nordstrom’s decision last week to cut first daughter Ivanka Trump’s fashion line has sparked a tremendous backlash from consumers—especially women—who say the company’s move has led them to boycott the store and cut up their Nordstrom’s cards.
Nordstrom’s claimed that the Ivanka Trump brand wasn’t performing well, but industry insiders tell Breitbart News that’s just not accurate. Nordstrom’s decision to mislead the public on why they are stopping carrying the Ivanka Trump brand is part of the fury out there among its longtime customers, who tell Breitbart News they’re cutting up their Nordstrom’s cards and won’t shop at the store anymore. Some even say they plan to return all their recent purchases.
Aside from trademarks in China, Ivanka Trump’s brand also has obtained or applied for them in numerous countries, including Canada, India, Japan, Israel, Mexico, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the U.S., and Europe, AP reported.