Responding to criticism from ethics groups, Ivanka Trump will officially become an unpaid government employee, after initially saying that she would remain an informal adviser to her father with an office in the West Wing.
“We are pleased that Ivanka Trump has chosen to take this step in her unprecedented role as First Daughter and in support of the President,” the White House said in a statement. “Ivanka’s service as an unpaid employee furthers our commitment to ethics, transparency, and compliance and affords her increased opportunities to lead initiatives driving real policy benefits for the American public that would not have been available to her previously.”
Trump will serve as an assistant to the president and adviser. She joins her husband, Jared Kushner, in taking an official role in the Trump administration. The decision was first reported by the New York Times.
“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.”
Last week, the Trump announced that she would take an office in the West Wing and would not be paid but would remain an informal adviser without a job description. But the arrangement raised ethical questions, as watchdogs questioned the arrangement, which would give her workspace within the White House and an advisory role to the president without the constraints placed on other federal employees.
Ivanka Trump's attorney, Jamie Gorelick, said that the new arrangement addresses those concerns and that Trump will complete all required financial disclosure and conflict of interest forms required of federal employees within the 30 days. “Ivanka’s decision reflects both her commitment to compliance with federal ethics standards and her openness to opposing points of view,” Gorelick said. “She will file the financial disclosure forms required of federal employees and be bound by the same ethics rules that she had planned to comply with voluntarily.”
Trump is also seeking a security clearance in her new role.
Democracy 21, a watchdog ethics group, said that the new arrangement makes Trump subject to the same ethics and conflict of interest requirements of other employees.
“Democracy 21 commends Ms. Trump for now changing her position and agreeing to become a White House employee,” the group said in a statement. “This means that like other White House employees, Ms. Trump now will be required to file Form 278 financial disclosure reports with the Office of Government Ethics and be required to comply with the financial conflict of interest rules found in section 208 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code.”
Democracy 21 said Trump's decision “recognizes 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.”
Trump has already accompanied her father in a number of meetings at the White House and will soon embark on a trip to Germany, where she is to attend a women's empowerment summit in Berlin in April.