US Justice Department’s green light for Kushner to advise Trump(L-R) Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and US First Lady Melania Trump watch the presidential inaugural parade for US President Donald Trump on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)
US President Donald Trump’s hiring of his son-in-law Jared Kushner will not violate any anti-nepotism laws and can go forward, says an official with the US Justice Department (DOJ).
"In choosing his personal staff, the president enjoys an unusual degree of freedom, which Congress found suitable to the demands of his office," said deputy assistant attorney general in the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), Daniel Koffsky, as reported by CNN.
He made the statement amid concerns that hiring Ivanka Trump’s husband could violate federal anti-nepotism laws or make the situation harder for Palestinians, given the close ties Kushner maintains with the Israeli ruling Likud party.
"A President wanting a relative's advice on governmental matters therefore has a choice: to seek that advice on an unofficial, ad hoc basis without conferring the status and imposing the responsibilities that accompany formal White House positions; or to appoint his relative to the White House under title 3 and subject him to substantial restrictions against conflicts of interest," Koffsky stated. "We believe that the president’s special hiring authority in 3 U.S.C. § 105(a) permits him to make appointments to the White House Office that the anti-nepotism statute might otherwise forbid.”
Since his victory on November 8, Trump has insisted that Kushner should be present during daily presidential briefings, despite not having security clearances necessary.
The presence of Ksuhner and his wife at a meeting of Trump with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe drew criticism from political experts as they both lack the security clearance needed to attend a meeting with a world official.
His appointment could potentially violate the 1967 anti-nepotism law, which bans federal authorities from giving government positions to civilian relatives in agencies under their control.
Kushner was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family in New Jersey and studied as an honors student in a private yeshiva high school in 1999.
According to Tampa-based investigative journalist Wayne Madsen, Ivanka’s husband “has very close links with the Likud party of Israel.”