Hiring his son-in-law Jared Kushner to be President Trump's White House advisor will not violate federal anti-nepotism laws, the Justice Department concluded Friday, the day Trump took office.
"The most natural and straightforward reading of [the law is] the President may appoint relatives as employees in the White House Office "without regard to" the anti-nepotism statute", the OLC concluded.
Kushner, 35, a property developer and magazine publisher who has been credited with being the brains behind the scenes that helped get his father-in-law elected, is married to Trump's eldest daughter Ivanka.
The anti-nepotism law reportedly was put in place since after President John F. Kennedy named his brother, Robert, attorney general, in order to prevent a president from nominating or appointing close family, including in-laws, to administration positions.
In a letter dated January 20 posted on its website, the department's Office of Legal Counsel said the president has special hiring authority that exempts White House positions from laws barring the president from naming a relative to lead a federal agency.
"Kushner will work closely with chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Stephen Bannon to execute president-elect Trump's agenda", Trump's team said in announcing the position. But a White House announcement said Mr Kushner will not accept a salary, according to Time magazine.
Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law, has gotten the all-clear from US Department of Justice lawyers to serve as a senior advisor in the White House.
Following his appointment, Kushner said he was "energized by the shared passion of the (president) and the American people.". Allowing the president to formalize the relationship by naming relatives to White House staff positions means they are subject to other rules and restrictions placed on federal employees.
Koffsky acknowledged that the Kushner opinion contradicted some earlier decisions from the Office of Legal Counsel about how to interpret and apply the anti-nepotism law. Kushner has said that he will divest from some of his assets. This suggests Congress views federal agencies and the White House as birds of a different feather, as they are governed by separate laws.