Ivanka Trump has been a fixture of her father’s campaign since day one, and taking on an unprecedented role inthe Trump administration. Following her father’s presidential victory, Trump took official leave from the Trump Organization and moved her family to Washington DC, presumably because of her husband Jared Kushner’s role as a senior adviser in the White House. However, while she claimed that she would not be seeking a formal role in her father’s administration — which would be a nepotism violation — it is reported that Ivanka has secured a West Wing office.
Although Trump has denied in the past that he wanted security clearance for his children, Ivanka will reportedly be given clearance and official White House communication devices later this week. While she will not be given a title or a salary or be sworn in, Ivanka appears to be an unofficial full-time staffer who, according to Trump attorney Jamie Gorelick, will “serve as the president’s ‘eyes and ears’ while providing broad-ranging advice, not just limited to women’s empowerment issues.”
Gorelick concedes that this is “new ground” for a presidential administration, but says that “the conservative approach is for Ivanka to voluntarily comply with the rules that would apply if she were a government employee, even though she is not.” However, this does raise a number of ethical red flags, especially regarding conflicts of interest. While Trump and Kushner have unloaded as much as $36.7 million in common stock and investments in order to meet the ethical demands of their new federal placement, Ivanka will still own her own business. While she cannot sell due to licensing rights and the expansion of clients, she will be pulling away from a number of the duties previously required.
With the ever growing Ivanka Trump brand, is simply stepping away from a majority of business dealings enough to satisfy those raising concerns over ethics? Norm Eisen, the former ethics czar under Obama, doesn’t seem to think so, saying “You might be inclined to view this differently and more generously if the White House had shown a stronger commitment to ethics enforcement.” Either way, it’s another questionable move by an administration already plagued by accusations of scandal.