Following news that Ivanka Trump has secured a West Wing office
in a so-called “unofficial” capacity (see update below), Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tom Carper want to know exactly which ethics rules she will be required to comply with in her unprecedented role. Kelsey Sutton writes:
Warren (D-Mass.) and Carper (D-Del.) sent a letter to [Office of Government Ethics] director Walter Shaub on Wednesday asking whether the White House has requested or received guidance from the office about Ivanka Trump’s role in the White House and the rules about disclosures, divestments and recusals that could be required of her amid her growing White House role.
In the letter, they write:
Ethics rules are important. Federal conflict of interest laws prohibit an “officer or employee of the executive branch” — including those with positions at the White House — from participating in matters that have a direct impact on their personal and their family members’ financial interests. Ms. Trump has substantial interests at stake: for example, she has retained ownership of Ivanka Trump Marks LLC, a retail clothing brand.
The letter goes on to inquire about whether the White House has sought guidance from the Office of Government Ethics about Ivanka’s role (just guessing that’s a “no”), which ethics standards she will have to comply with, if her role has even been determined to be “consistent” with current ethics laws and precedents, what disclosures she will have to make, and what she would be required to do if she were determined to be serving in an “official” capacity in the government (i.e. what’s the White House circumventing by keeping her role “unofficial,” never mind that security clearance she’s seeking.)