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President-elect Trump in fresh row over naming son-in-law as top adviser

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10 January 2017

Democrats have called for a review of US president-elect Donald Trump's naming of his son-in-law as a top adviser, over concerns of nepotism and conflict of interest.

A group is seeking scrutiny by the justice department and Office of Government Ethics of "legal issues" related to the appointment of Jared Kushner, 36.

Kushner's lawyer said the post did not breach anti-nepotism laws.

Kushner is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka.

He would step down as boss of his family's real estate business and publisher of the New York Observer newspaper to comply with ethics laws, his lawyer Jamie Gorelick said.

She added that the influential Trump adviser would also divest "substantial assets". Trump's inauguration as the 45th president of the US is set for 20 January.

Several of his cabinet picks had business interests that would be scrutinised during confirmation hearings that would take place this week.

Trump's pick for attorney general, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, is first to face senate confirmation hearings today. He was turned down for a federal judgeship in 1986 due to alleged racist remarks.

Unlike cabinet positions, advisers are considered part of White House staff and do not require approval from Congress.

''It is an honor to serve our country,'' Kushner said in a statement. ''I am energised by the shared passion of the president-elect and the American people and I am humbled by the opportunity to join this very talented team.''

Kushner is facing several questions about conflicts of interest due to his extensive business holdings and a 1967 federal anti-nepotism law that prohibited ''public officials'' from appointing relatives to agencies they oversaw.

However, even David Brock, one of Hillary Clinton's fiercest defenders, said Kushner, who would turn 36 on Tuesday, should not have a problem.

''While the anti-nepotism law is a murky landscape, Kushner appears to be taking the proper steps regarding the ethics and disclosure requirements for federal employees,'' Brock said in an e-mail to The Post.





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