Justice releases anti-nepotism White House memos

Justice releases anti-nepotism White House memos
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The Justice Department has released several legal memos 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.

That decision paved the way for President TrumpDonald John TrumpREAD: Transcript of James Comey's interview with House Republicans Klobuchar on 2020: ‘I do think you want voices from the Midwest’ Israel boycott fight roils Democrats in year-end spending debate MORE's son-in-law, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump to attend World Economic Forum in Davos for second straight year Pass the FIRST STEP Act to give second chances at the American Dream No reason to assume American relations with Mexico are rocky MORE, to become a senior adviser at the White House. 

The president's elder daughter, Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTrump to attend World Economic Forum in Davos for second straight year Trump charity agrees to dissolve amid allegations of a 'shocking pattern of illegality' Chris Matthews: Trump Jr., Ivanka ‘stand as the next dominoes to fall’ MORE, eventually became a senior adviser as well, albeit in an unpaid capacity. 

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The legal memos concluding that the president cannot appoint relatives to his White House staff or advisory commissions were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Politico, which posted them online. 

According to the documents, Justice Department lawyers had held for decades that a 1967 anti-nepotism law barred the president from appointing family members to White House positions. 

For example, a 2009 opinion issued to the Obama White House forbade the president from appointing his half-sister to a White House fellowships commission and his brother-in-law to a fitness commission. 

The legal memos were overruled in January of this year. Koffsky concluded that a 1978 law gave the president broad authority to hire for White House positions.