No first family in recent history has received as much interest or attention as Donald Trump’s family. To begin with, no president in recent history has arrived at the White House with four adult children, already successful in their fields of endeavor.
While President Trump (doesn’t that sound great?) has said his sons Donald Jr. and Eric will take over the helm of the Trump Organization’s business, daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner will move to Washington D.C. There’s been commentary (from the left of course) that Ivanka will end up being sort of a “shadow first lady” and also questions about what sort of role her husband, Jared Kushner, could or should have in the White House.
Many have expressed concern about nepotism and whether or not the law even allows family members to serve.
But The Hill reports, Hiring his son-in-law Jared Kushner to be President Trump’s White House advisor will not violate federal anti-nepotism laws, the Justice Department concluded Friday, the day Trump took office.
The statement comes after numerous critics have raised concerns about Kushner, who is married to the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, and his potentially conflicting business interests.
“In choosing his personal staff, the President enjoys an unusual degree of freedom, which Congress found suitable to the demands of his office,” said deputy assistant attorney general in the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), Daniel Koffsky, as reported by CNN.
A person familiar with the matter told the network that Trump’s presidential transition team had asked career lawyers inside the OLC to review the Kushner appointment.
A separate source said that Koffsky is a longtime career attorney there and said political appointees of the DOJ including Attorney General Loretta Lynch did not play a role in the opinion, according to CNN.
“A President wanting a relative’s advice on governmental matters therefore has a choice: to seek that advice on an unofficial, ad hoc basis without conferring the status and imposing the responsibilities that accompany formal White House positions; or to appoint his relative to the White House under title 3 and subject him to substantial restrictions against conflicts of interest,” Koffsky noted.
Some speculated that Kushner would be barred from serving based on the “Bobby Kennedy law” passed by Lyndon Johnson in 1967 in a nepotism statute that, (per Politico) among other provisions, appeared to make it impossible for a president to appoint immediate family members to the Cabinet or, some argue, to the White House staff. (The law explicitly prevents “public officials” from promoting a “relative” “to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control.”) Johnson supposedly passed the bill because of his deep animosity towards Bobby Kennedy, but it appears this law does not affect Trump’s choice.
One thing is for certain, nothing about Donald Trump’s presidency will be business as usual, and frankly, those of us who support him are damn glad.
[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]