WASHINGTON — Ivanka Trump is changing course and will become a government employee in the coming days, a White House official said Wednesday.
President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter will be an unpaid employee working in the West Wing.
“I have heard the concerns some have with my advising the president in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules, and I will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White House Office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees,” Ivanka Trump said in a statement.
“Throughout this process I have been working closely and in good faith with the White House counsel and my personal counsel to address the unprecedented nature of my role.”
A source with knowledge of the decision said the decision was made after the “unease” expressed by people about the nature of her voluntary role, and ethics advocates Norm Eisen and Fred Wertheimer had sent White House counsel Don McGhan a letter on Friday.
Now, Ivanka Trump will be an “adviser” to the president and will file her own Form 278, which means she is legally bound by the ethics rules.
An unsigned statement from the White House said: “We are pleased that Ivanka Trump has chosen to take this step in her unprecedented role as first daughter and in support of the president.”
“Ivanka’s decision reflects both her commitment to compliance with federal ethics standards and her openness to opposing points of view,” Trump’s attorney Jamie S. Gorelick said.
“She will file the financial disclosure forms required of federal employees and be bound by the same ethics rules that she had planned to comply with voluntarily.”
Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband and a top Trump aide, is also serving the White House as an unpaid government employee.
A White House official confirmed last week that, after a few months settling into Washington, Trump was officially moving into a West Wing office and would obtain top-secret security clearance. She will also receive government-provided communications devices, per the official.
Ivanka Trump’s elevation has prompted critics to note the potential violation of the nepotism law, passed in 1967, that says no public official — from the president down to a low-level manager at a federal agency — can hire or promote a relative.
But the law states that any appointee found to have violated the law is “not entitled to pay” by the federal government, which appears to offer the opportunity for Trump and Kushner to forgo paychecks while still serving the administration.
When Kushner officially joined Trump’s team in January, the Justice Department concluded that his post as senior adviser was not in violation of federal anti-nepotism laws.