President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka will take up office in the White House in an “unprecedented” move that has sparked concerns of a breach in nepotism laws, experts say.
Ms Trump will work out of a West Wing office with access to classified information, despite holding no formal role in her father’s administration.
The development comes as White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway’s husband is expected to be appointed to a role in the Justice Department.
However, according to Flinders University head of American Studies, Don DeBats, Ms Trump’s “advisory” role is unparalleled and raises ethical questions.
“I think it’s unprecedented. It’s part of the Trump pattern, these irregular relationships and depending on people who don’t have clearances and have (other) interests. That’s a bad combination,” Professor DeBats told The New Daily.
The first daughter won’t have an official title, won’t be sworn in and will not be paid, but will serve as the President’s “eyes and ears”, her attorney said.
Her office is set up on the West Wing’s second floor, next to newly appointed National Security Council adviser Dina Powell, and is granted government-issued communications devices, Politico reported.
The motive behind the move is yet to be addressed, as Ms Trump still owns her Ivanka Trump fashion brand and will publish a book, Women Who Work, later this year.
Ms Trump stepped down from her position at her fashion company before her father’s inauguration, however she retains veto power to kill any deals that would be “unacceptable from an ethics perspective”.
“I think it is potentially a big conflict of interest,” Professor DeBats said.
“There’s real rules against nepotism and I don’t think it does the Trump administration any good to be always brushing up against the rules.”
Ms Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, serves as an official senior adviser in the White House and his hiring also raised questions of whether it violated anti-nepotism laws.
“I will continue to offer my father my candid advice and counsel, as I have for my entire life,” Ms Trump said in a statement.
“While there is no modern precedent for an adult child of the President, I will voluntarily follow all of the ethics rules placed on government employees.”
Ms Trump’s attorney, Jamie Gorelick, said she will voluntarily adhere to the rules that would apply if she were a government employee, even though she is not.
Mr Gorelick, however, conceded it does not clear Ms Trump of all conflict of interest.
“Having an adult child of the President who is actively engaged in the work of the administration is new ground,” Mr Gorelick said on Monday.
“The one thing I would like to be clear on: we don’t believe it eliminates conflicts in every way.
“She has the conflicts that derive from the ownership of this [Ivanka Trump] brand. We’re trying to minimise those to the extent possible.”
Conway’s husband tipped for Justice role
Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George Conway, has meanwhile been touted as President Trump’s nomination to run the Justice Department’s civil division, according to CNN sources.
If successful, it would mean Mr Conway would handle legal challenges against the controversial travel ban.
“This is just Trump creating another rod of which to have people beat him,” Professor DeBats said.
Mr Conway is currently a partner in corporate law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz’s litigation department, and has represented high-profile clients, including the National Football League and cigarette company Philip Morris.