A federal nepotism law is about to be tested, stretched, and possibly broken by Donald Trump's son-in-law, insiders say. Sources tell the Wall Street Journal that Trump and members of his inner circle are urging Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump, to join the administration as a senior adviser or something similar. A 1967 law bans public officials from hiring relatives—including sons-in-law or daughters-in-law—to agencies they have authority over. Sources tell the New York Times that Kushner has spoken to lawyers about the issue and believes he could join the Trump White House and remain on the right side of the law if he refuses a salary and distances himself from his real estate holdings.
Norman L. Eisen, President Obama's ethics counsel during his transition, tells the Times that the law "would seem to block out Kushner flatly" and Trump "would be treading upon very serious statutory and constitutional grounds" if he tries to find a way around the law. "On the very hardest calls that confront a president, you want the president's adviser to remember that their oath or affirmation to the Constitution comes first, before family ties," Eisen says. Kushner is a "kindred spirit" to Trump, Politico finds in a profile of the 35-year-old real estate baron. Insiders say the son-in-law is probably the most powerful person on the transition team apart from the president-elect himself. (Trump might have a job for Mitt Romney.)