Ivanka Trump has been officially announced as the Special Assistant to her father and promised to obey all government ethics regulations, but there are still a lot of questions about how she will obey those regulations and whether her new position violates laws against nepotism in the White House.
Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MASS) and Tom Carpenter (D-DE) have sent a letter to the Office of Government Ethics asking how they will ensure Ivanka Trump complies with the ethics rules.
The Senators wrote to say that the First Daughter’s “increasing, albeit unspecified, White House role … [has] resulted in substantial confusion.”
“We write today,” the letter added, “to request information about the ethics rules that President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, will be required to comply with.”
By making her role official but unpaid, the White House claims she is now legally bound to obey all government regulations, but some question if that is even possible.
Norman Eisen, who was an ethics lawyer for the Obama administration, said that both he and a former ethics lawyer for George W. Bush believe Ivanka’s role is a per se a violation of nepotism laws.
Trump has claimed that the 1967 nepotism law which prohibits any public official, from the President down to a low-level manager at a federal agency, from hiring or promoting a relative.
“My view,” Eisen said on CNN, ” … is that the nepotism statute does apply to the White House. For decades the Justice Department held yes, the nepotism statute applies to the White House.”
“President Trump got an opinion from the Justice Department that the nepotism statute doesn’t apply to his White House,” added Eisen, speaking to Anderson Cooper. “We don’t agree with that opinion.”
This is not the first time Trump has thumbed his nose at the nepotism law. He previously appointed Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner to a role as a White House counselor, despite similar protests.
Trump seems to believe he, and his family, are above the law. Trump and his daughter have claimed to have separated from their business interests, but in both cases, they have not been transparent about how that is being done.
Ivanka has something else in common with her father. They both have made statements during and right after the campaign which have turned out to be false.
In Ivanka’s case, she was interviewed by the CBS show”60 Minutes” shortly after the election. She was asked if she would be working in her father’s administration in any capacity?
“I’m going to be a daughter,” Ivanka responded. “But I’ve said throughout the campaign that I am very passionate about certain issues. And that I want to fight for them. So you know there are a lot of things that I feel deeply, strongly about. But not in a formal administrative capacity.”
On that same broadcast, Ivanka wore and pitched the sale of an $11,000 bracelet made by her company, which then offered information on where to buy it. That caused a firestorm of concern about her questionable ethics.
Now she is in the White House in a formal administrative capacity. No wonder Senators Warren and Carpenter are questioning whether she can be trusted to obey ethics rules without a watchdog looking over her shoulder.