monday, 23 january of 2017

DOJ: Trump appointment of son-in-law does not violate anti-nepotism laws

The US Department of Justice released a 14-page legal opinion Saturday holding that US President Donald Trump's appointment of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as a senior adviser did not violate federal anti-nepotism laws.

Particularly, some have argued Kushner's appointment violates a federal law that reads in pertinent part that appointing a relative "to a civilian position in the agency ... over which [the official] exercises jurisdiction or control" is forbidden.

In response, the DOJ, mirroring arguments from Kushner's attorneys, held that "[i]n choosing his personal staff, the President enjoys an unusual degree of freedom, which Congress found suitable to the demands of his office." While Kushner's appointment could still be challenged [WP report] in court, the Trump administration will have a stronger argument, in that he is following the guidance of government attorneys.

A number of bi-partisan experts have expressed concerns over potential ethical issues being faced by Trump.

Two government ethics lawyers who counseled both presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have voiced concerns over Trump's refusal to disclose his tax returns which, they argue, leads to an inability to ensure the actions of the new administration will be conflict-free.

Concerns have also been voiced over the more than 4,000 open lawsuits involving Trump and his businesses.

Numerous US senators have also voiced concerns over Trump's Cabinet nominees [WP report], including reports that some nominees have failed to pay federal and state taxes, a factor which has caused nominees of previous administrations to withdraw their nomination.

(Published by Jurist - January 22, 2017)

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