State Department reminds staff on ethics after posts on Trump interests

The U.S. State Department’s legal office has reminded employees not to promote private interests on social media after its online accounts publicized President Donald Trump’s private Florida resort and his daughter Ivanka Trump’s new book.

An article on a State Department website in April about Mar-a-Lago and a retweet in May about the book were eventually withdrawn, but the new guidance issued on Tuesday said employees should “exercise caution before using a Department social media account to highlight non-official activities of U.S. government officials and their family.”

The guidance was posted on an internal website and written by the Office of Ethics and Financial Disclosure of the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser.

A State Department official declined to comment on internal communications but said the legal adviser’s office routinely provides guidance to employees on ethics matters.

The guidance was directed to social media managers who oversee hundreds of official government accounts on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter, and other platforms used by State Department agencies, consulates and embassies to communicate information and U.S. foreign policy.

The guidance, which was seen by Reuters, never specifically mentions Trump or his family. But its content appeared to be at least in part in response to the postings on the resort and the book.

“If a government official has a commercial enterprise or has published a book, U.S. government resources should not be used to publicize those ventures,” the guidance said.

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