Trump assigns son-in-law as senior advisor, sparks controversy with federal law

Earlier this month, President-elect Donald Trump announced that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will join the White House as a senior advisor to the president, potentially breaking a federal anti-nepotism law designed to prevent public officials from appointing family members to public office.

According to Trump, Kushner played a key role throughout his campaign, stating “Jared has been a tremendous asset and trusted adviser throughout the campaign and transition and I am proud to have him in a key leadership role in my administration.”

Kushner’s role strikes controversy due to a federal anti-nepotism law formed in 1967 – 5 U.S. Code § 3110 subsection (b) clearly states “A public official may not appoint…any individual who is a relative of the public official.”

According to the Trump administration, Kushner will not accept a salary which could exempt him from this law, thus making his appointment legal.

Kushner’s legal counsel claims that the 1967 anti-nepotism law which prevents public officers from appointing family members as political officials is no applicable to the White House (photo courtesy of matt2181 via the Flickr Creative Commons).

Additionally, according to Kushner’s legal counsel Jamie Gorelick, the law does not apply to White House appointments as the White House is not officially considered an agency.

Aside from the appointment’s legality, Kushner’s role raises skepticism due to the eminent possibility that conflicts of interest may arise. Kushner controls a company that is focused in real-estate, and has relied on foreign-investments that could influence international policies in Trump’s administration, in addition to publishing the New York Observer.

In addition, the New York Times reported that Kushner played a “pivotal role” in convincing Trump to appoint Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, who has connections to Kushner’s company, as director of the National Economic Council.

Gorelick announced that Kushner plans on resigning from his company, and divesting his investments and assets. Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump, also played a key role in Trump’s campaign, but will not immediately take on role in the White House. Instead, she will be focusing on settling her family into Washington.

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