President-elect Donald Trump has named son-in-law Jared Kushner his Senior Advisor to the White House. Jared, husband to Ivanka Trump, will forego a salary while serving in the Trump administration. Now, to determine if his appointment violates anti-nepotism laws.
Donald Trump‘s campaign spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway called it the “best news of the day”. It’s been expected for weeks. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, 36, has been named Senior Advisor to the President, per a statement from the president-elect on January 9.
“Jared has been a tremendous asset and trusted advisor throughout the campaign and transition and I am proud to have him in a key leadership role in my administration,” said the president-elect in a statement. “He has been incredibly successful, in both business and now politics. He will be an invaluable member of my team as I set and execute an ambitious agenda, putting the American people first.”
Jared’s position as a major player in the Trump administration does not come without controversy, as it raises issue of whether or not appointing a son-in-law violates anti-nepotism laws established in the 1960s. The law was created in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson took office. Johnson was unhappy that his predecessor, John F. Kennedy, appointed brother Robert Kennedy to attorney general during his presidency. It reads:
“A public official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in or to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative of the public official.”
There’s issue here with the language. It’s unclear exactly what “agency” means, and if Jared’s appointment would fall under that category. Some argue that the White House does not qualify as an agency, and therefore Jared would be exempt. Even if Jared’s appointment is legal, it still raises ethical questions.
Jared, the publisher of the New York Observer and a major real estate developer, cannot make decisions in office that have “direct and predictable effect” on his business holdings, according to the New York Times. He’s already run into some trouble there by encouraging Trump to hire Goldman Sachs president Gary D. Cohn as his chief economic adviser; Goldman Sachs has lent Kushner Companies money and is an investor in one of his projects.
Jared’s lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, told NPR on January 9 that Jared will be following ethical guidelines: “He is going to restructure his business, so that he will no longer have any active involvement in Kushner Co. entities, which are real estate entities mostly in New York. He will divest a substantial number of his assets, and for any of those that remain he will abide by all the appropriate recusal requirements of the ethical guidelines.”
HollywoodLifers, are you surprised that Trump named Jared as his senior advisor? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.