Ivanka Trump is officially joining her father’s administration as an unpaid employee, after her plans to serve in a more informal capacity were questioned by ethics experts.
The first daughter announced on Wednesday (US time) that she would serve as an unpaid employee in the White House, saying she had “heard the concerns some have with my advising the President in my personal capacity”.
She added that she had been “working in good faith with the White House counsel and my personal counsel to address the unprecedented nature of my role”.
A White House official has since said her title will be Assistant to the President.
In a statement, the White House said it was “pleased that Ivanka Trump has chosen to take this step in her unprecedented role as first daughter and in support of the President”.
Several attorneys and government watchdog leaders last week wrote a letter to White House counsel Don McGahn asking him to reconsider his approval of Ms Trump serving her father without becoming an official government employee.
Such a designation carries with it the requirement to follow an array of transparency and ethical provisions, including a law prohibiting conflicts of interest. Ms Trump has said she would voluntarily follow such provisions.Norman Eisen, who was president Barack Obama’s ethics counsellor, was among those who signed the letter.
He said that “for a change in what has largely been an ethics disaster, the White House came to their senses”.
“Let’s hope it doesn’t turn out to be an isolated moment of sanity.”
Fred Wertheimer, president of the government watchdog group Democracy 21 and a co-writer of the letter to Mr McGahn, said he commended Ms Trump for formalising her status.
“Democracy 21 praises Ms Trump for her decision, which recognises that it would have been wrong for her to function as a White House employee and not be subject to the same rules that apply to other White House employees,” he said in a statement.
Ms Trump’s attorney Jamie Gorelick said she would file the financial disclosures required of federal employees and would be bound by official ethics rules.
“Ivanka’s decision reflects both her commitment to compliance with federal ethics standards and her openness to opposing points of view,” Ms Gorelick said.
Ms Trump had already sought to distance herself from her business interests — she continues to own her brand, but has reportedly handed daily management to the company president and set up a trust to provide further oversight.
The business cannot make deals with any foreign state, and the trustees will confer with Ms Gorelick over any new agreements. Ms Trump will also be able to veto proposed new transactions.
With the Trump Organisation, Ms Trump has stepped down from a leadership role and will receive fixed payments rather than a share of the profits.