WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 27:  Ivanka Trump, daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks as President Trump, left, listens during a meeting with women small business owners in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on March 27, 2017 in Washington, D.C.  Investors on Monday further unwound trades initiated in November resting on the idea that the election of Trump and a Republican Congress meant smooth passage of an agenda that featured business-friendly tax cuts and regulatory changes. (Photo by  Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)
Jason Miller defends Ivanka Trump's new role
01:58 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

"She's working for free. She's volunteering her time," Jason Miller says

The President's oldest daughter will be an "adviser" to Trump

CNN  — 

A former spokesman for President Donald Trump’s campaign said Thursday that Ivanka Trump’s decision to join the White House staff is not nepotism because the President’s daughter will work for free.

President Donald Trump’s oldest daughter will be an “adviser” to the President and will file her own Form 278, which means she is legally bound by ethics rules. Critics, however, claim that Trump’s hiring violates federal nepotism laws.

CNN’s Alisyn Camerota asked Jason Miller on “New Day” Thursday: “The one thing I don’t understand is how is this not nepotism?”

“Well, I mean, how is it nepotism?” Miller, a Trump surrogate, replied.

“Because she’s the daughter of the President, that’s how it’s nepotism,” Camerota responded.

“She’s working for free. She’s volunteering her time and effort for the good of the country,” Miller said. “Everybody from the White House counsel to the (Department of Justice) has said that this doesn’t violate any sort of nepotism rules.”

Speaking during the same segment, former White House ethics czar Norman Eisen said that both the Barack Obama and George W. Bush administrations included the White House in its interpretation of the federal nepotism law, passed in 1967, that says no public official – from the President down to a low-level manager at a federal agency – may 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 Jared Kushner, her husband, to forgo paychecks while still serving the administration. Kushner, a top Donald Trump aide, is also serving the White House as an unpaid government employee.

nepotism law

A source has told CNN that the decision to make Ivanka Trump officially an employee was made after there was great “unease” expressed by about the nature of her voluntary role.

“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.”