Ivanka Trump’s position as the ‘eyes and ears’ of her father is not unique to the new administration

Jordan Walker, Contributing Writer

The closest resemblance to a position title that Ivanka Trump has been given by the White House Counsel’s Office as a part of President Donald Trump’s administration is “her father’s eyes and ears.” According to her lawyer, Trump’s new role at the White House will be to advise her father, concentrating on issues related to women in the workplace, child care, parental leave, and job training. Trump has resigned from her job as executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization.

Meanwhile, at the White House, she gets an office in the West Wing and government communications devices, all while maintaining nominative control over her jewelry and fashion empire. Although she is not the official manager of her clothing and accessories business, she has kept her ownership and moved her assets into a separate trust.

Trump claims that she has been a longtime advisor to her father, including her role as executive vice president of development and acquisition for the Trump Organization, her past involvement in Trump’s administration, and her involvement on the notorious TV show, “The Apprentice.”

There has been a lot of criticism of the presidential administration’s blatant attempts to ignore the federal nepotism statute, which prohibits public officials from appointing relatives to positions in agencies over which they preside. However, whether the administration crossed a line in giving both Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, positions in the White House is not entirely black and white based on a 24-year-old judicial hearing involving the Clinton administration.

Then-president Bill Clinton had appointed Hillary Clinton as the leader of a healthcare task force. When the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, the American Council for Health Care Reform, and the National Legal and Policy Center brought lawsuit against Hillary Clinton for violation of the nepotism statute, federal judges ruled that certain positions in the White House cannot be considered executive agency positions under the nepotism statute, because the White House has not always been considered an agency. According to the Department of Justice, the Constitution allows the president’s special hiring authority to exempt positions in the White House Office.

Because the Trump Empire has skillfully managed to give both Trump and Kushner unpaid positions in the White House, they are not officially required to comply with ethics restrictions. Trump claims she has refused to take a salary, but she is still using government resources. Not only does she have top security clearance, but according to CNN, she was at a White House meeting last week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and she met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last month.

The business owner also promises not to participate in major policies and trade agreements that would interfere with her financial interests. Trump is essentially a volunteer with the highest security clearance, reaping the benefits of interacting with influential government officials while remaining just shy of the circle of accountability that would subject her to transparency and record-keeping laws. Trump’s position is a dangerous precedent that reveals more about a long-established lack of discipline and ethics enforcement by the White House than it does about any presidential administration.

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