Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Trump, has been given a West Wing office in a move the White House admits has “no modern precedent”.
The businesswoman turned unofficial adviser to The President will circumnavigate federal anti-nepotism laws by taking no official role, but will receive government-issued communications devices and security clearance to access classified information.
In January, her husband Jared Kushner was appointed as a senior adviser to the president by her father, whose premiership has been plagued by accusations of conflicts of interest and allegations of Russian inference.
At the time, Ivanka, who has relocated with her family to Washington DC, said she would not be seeking access to the White House.
— Bernadette Meehan (@MeehanBM) March 20, 2017
Since then she has sat in on several high-profile meetings with foreign leaders, including with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and German chancellor Angela Merkel.
She has also been personally lobbying lawmakers to include a new deduction for child-care expenses as part of a proposed tax overhaul.
Jamie Gorelick, an attorney and ethics adviser for Ivanka, confirmed Trump’s daughter will not have an official title, but will get a West Wing office.
Gorelick said Ivanka Trump would follow the ethics rules that apply to government employees.
“Our view is that the conservative approach is for Ivanka to voluntarily comply with the rules that would apply if she were a government employee, even though she is not,” said Gorelick. “The White House Counsel’s Office agrees with that approach.”
Federal anti-nepotism laws prevent relatives from being appointed to government positions, meaning Ivanka’s position is an unusual one.
Bernadette Meehan, a former foreign service officer, tweeted: “I had a security clearance & West Wing office. @IvankaTrump diminishes the value of expertise & hard work it took me & others to get there.”
Attorney Andrew Herman, who has advised lawmakers on ethics issues, said he thought the administration should make her role official, according to the New York Times.
He said: “I think the right way to do that is to make her a special government employee. But that implicates all kind of formal and disclosure issues.”
“There’s recognition that they’re in very uncertain territory here,” said Norm Eisen, the former ethics tsar in the Obama administration. “The better thing to do would be to concede she is subject to the rules. It would create some outside accountability, because if she can voluntarily subject herself to the rules, she can voluntarily un-subject herself to the rules.”
In a statement Ivanka Trump said: “I will continue to offer my father my candid advice and counsel, as I have for my entire life.
“While there is no modern precedent for an adult child of the president, I will voluntarily follow all of the ethics rules placed on government employees.”
Ivanka has stepped down from her executive role at the Trump Organization, her father’s company, but still has business interests, including her fashion and jewellery brand.
The 35-year-old, who began her career as a model, has previously appeared on her father’s show, The Apprentice.