Donald Trump has freely appointed his unqualified family members to positions in his administration despite scathing criticisms. But things aren’t supposed to work that way and the proof is in the pudding, or in this case, in the anti-nepotism memos just released by the Justice Department.
According to The Hill, the legal memos were “issued under past administrations that found it is unlawful for presidents to appoint family members to White House positions or commissions.”
“The memos, issued to White Houses run by former Presidents Nixon, Carter, Reagan and Obama, were overruled in January by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Daniel Koffsky, a longtime Justice Department lawyer,” The Hill reports.
It was because of that decision that Trump was able to appoint his son-in-law Jared Kushner as his senior adviser. Not long after this, Trump decided to make his daughter, Ivanka, his unpaid adviser even though she is a handbag designer that knows squat about anything of importance when it comes to running a country.
Politico obtained the memos through a Freedom Of Information Act request and then posted them on the internet for all the world to see. The legal memos all come to the same conclusion: the President of the United States is not allowed to appoint his family members to his White House staff or advisory commissions.
For decades, lawyers at the Justice Department upheld an anti-nepotism law from 1967 that prohibited the president from appointing family members to his administration. As an example of this law in action, an opinion was issued in 2009 that barred President Obama from appointing his half-sister to a White House fellowships commission and his brother-in-law to a fitness commission.
Koffsky overruled this law in January of this year, ruling that a law from 1978 allowed the president to hire anyone he pleased to serve in his White House.
“In choosing his personal staff, the President enjoys an unusual degree of freedom, which Congress found suitable to the demands of his office,” Koffsky wrote.
“We believe that the President’s special hiring authority in 3 U.S.C. § 105(a) permits him to make appointments to the White House Office that the anti-nepotism statute might otherwise forbid,” Koffsky added.
Koffsky did acknowledge at the time that his decision “departs” from “prior work” of the Office of Legal Counsel, but “this departure is fully justified” he concluded.
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