A Texas restaurant owner and a Florida real estate agent are just two people bidding big money to have a coffee date with Ivanka Trump—though they and the rest of the bidders might soon be out of luck. Eric Trump says he's considering shutting down the Charitybuzz auction, meant to benefit a children's hospital in Tennessee, after the New York Times raised ethical concerns. Trump says the auction is an annual event, with one member of the family agreeing to have coffee with the winner, but this year is obviously a "new world," he says. The current high bid is almost $73,000, with bidding scheduled to end on Dec. 20.
Ethics lawyers tell the Times a public official shouldn't trade access for money, even to benefit a charity. The gray area, of course, is what kind of role Ivanka Trump will play in her father's administration. Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway suggested this week that federal rules about family members don't apply, notes Time. “The anti-nepotism law apparently has an exception if you want to work in the West Wing because the president is able to appoint his own staff,” she said on MSNBC. “Of course, this came about to stop maybe family members from serving on the Cabinet, but the president does have discretion to choose a staff of his liking.” (One possibility: She may be "climate czar.")