President-elect Donald Trump is challenging a 1967 anti-nepotism law by appointing his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to the position of senior advisor on Monday.
Kushner, who will be turning 36 on Tuesday, has been put in position to exert broad sway over domestic and foreign policy. Kushner, a real estate executive and political novice, has been in the forefront of Trump’s election. He has been one of the transition team’s main liaisons to foreign governments. He has also helped interview Cabinet candidates.
Trump said Kushner will be an “invaluable member of my team as I set and execute an ambitious agenda.”
Kushner is married to President-elect Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. While Ivanka has played a significant role in her father’s campaign and election, she will not be holding a formal position in the White House.
The 1967 anti-nepotism law is in place to bar government officials from hiring relatives. However, Kushner’s lawyer, Jamie Gorelick argued that this does not apply to the West Wing.
As a result of the new position, Kushner will resign as CEO from his family’s real estate company and as publisher of New York Observer. Gorelick said Kushner will also divest “substantial assets.” Kushner will not be taking a salary for the position.
Ivanka Trump will also step down from her current roles. She will her executive roles at the Trump Organization (Donald Trump’s real estate company) and her fashion brands.
The 1967 law does have loopholes in it. Ethic experts say that Kushner could retain a technically unofficial role. He could remain a “consultant” in order to get around the law.
A former lead ethics attorney for Barack Obama said that he and his predecessor Richard Painter, who served George W. Bush, “think the anti-nepotism law is murky.”
“We take a strict approach, but reasonable people may disagree,” Eisen said, adding that Kushner “should submit himself to all ethics, conflicts and disclosure laws. His representatives say he will do that. That is a positive step, and I welcome it.
“That said, we need to see the details of how he will do that. And I hope his father-in-law takes a page from his book and does the same, as presidents have for the past four decades, by divesting into a blind trust or the equivalent.”
Painter added that “it will be important for him to recuse from matters involving financial services regulation and the proposed repeal of Dodd-Frank”.