Ethics Experts Concerned About Ivanka's Role
'For purposes of the conflict of interest statute, I believe she is a government employee'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2017 12:11 PM CDT
In this Feb. 1, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

(Newser) – Ivanka Trump has attended meetings with foreign leaders and Cabinet members; she has security clearance that allows her access to classified information, a government-issued phone and computer, a White House email address, and even her own White House office. She still doesn't have an official White House job, but NPR and the Guardian talked to historians and ethics experts who are concerned with the ethical implications of Trump having such a high-profile role, even if an unpaid one, in her father's administration—particularly since she still owns a business. Since her role is not official, she requires no swearing-in and no Senate approval. And, though past presidents have looked to their children for insight before, Trump's role looks to be more extensive than simply offering advice.

Trump's attorney explains her role to NPR thusly: She will "continue to be the eyes and ears of her father and provide candid advice as she has for her entire adult life," plus "spend some time on initiatives that she cares about, particularly with regard to women in the workplace." She'll do all that while continuing to own her fashion and jewelry line, though she won't be as involved in managing the company; one political historian points out that could raise questions about whether her presence in the administration is looked at as promotion for her company. Trump's attorney says White House counsel is "comfortable" with the ethics of her role in the administration, and that Trump will abide by the same ethical rules paid employees abide by. The former chief ethics lawyer for George W. Bush concludes, "For purposes of the conflict of interest statute, I believe she is a government employee."

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