Ivanka Trump Will Become A Federal Employee After Criticism About Her “Informal” Role
Breaking with her formerly unofficial role, the New York Times reported that Ivanka Trump is becoming a federal employee, and will join her husband Jared Kushner as an unpaid employee of Donald Trump's administration. The announcement of Ivanka's official role came after ethics criticisms following news that she was serving as an unofficial adviser to Trump and would have access to classified information without technically being a government employee. During that time, Ivanka had an office in the West Wing.
According to the Times, Ivanka's title will be special assistant to the president.
In a statement, Ivanka explained the reason for her move from unofficial adviser to federal employee:
I have heard the concerns some have with my advising the president in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules, and I will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White House office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees.
Throughout this process I have been working closely and in good faith with the White House counsel and my personal counsel to address the unprecedented nature of my role.
News of Ivanka's official role came a day after reports that Kushner will head the White House Office of American Innovation.
Along with her husband, Ivanka's influence over Trump and in his White House includes roundtable discussions with the German and Canadian heads of state (the former of which invited her to the W20 summit in Berlin) and a school visit with her father and his new Labor Secretary Betsy DeVos.
The White House issued their own statement about Ivanka's newly official role:
We are pleased that Ivanka Trump has chosen to take this step in her unprecedented role as first daughter and in support of the president. Ivanka's service as an unpaid employee furthers our commitment to ethics, transparency, and compliance and affords her increased opportunities to lead initiatives driving real policy benefits for the American public that would not have been available to her previously.
Despite concerns about allegedly unethical hiring in the Trump White House, the Department of Justice ruled shortly after the inauguration that hiring Kushner did not violate anti-nepotism laws. The DOJ's White House legal interpreter Daniel Koffsky told CNN that those laws only apply to appointments to executive agencies, and the White House isn't one of them. He elaborated on the legal reasoning behind the DOJ ruling:
In choosing his personal staff, the President enjoys an unusual degree of freedom, which Congress found suitable to the demands of his office.
It's unclear as of yet what exactly Ivanka's newly official role will include, but for now, it does appear to be legal according to the DOJ's ruling about her husband.