President-elect Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who emerged as a key figure in the Republican’s successful 2016 campaign, will be named senior adviser to the president, the campaign announced Monday.
“Jared has been a tremendous asset and trusted advisor throughout the campaign and transition and I am proud to have him in a key leadership role in my administration," Trump said in a statement announcing the appointment.
Kushner was an influential behind the scenes confidant to his father-in-law during last year’s election and has continued to be a leading voice in Trump’s transition to the White House. But a number of legal questions potentially complicate the billionaire real estate developer’s role in the incoming administration.
“Mr. Kushner is committed to complying with federal ethics laws and we have been consulting with the Office of Government Ethics regarding the steps he would take," Kushner's lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, said in a statement.
Kushner will resign from his company, divest “substantial assets,” and recuse himself from matters that would impact his financial interests, Gorelick said. His remaining assets will be purchased by a trust.
But he may also be challenged on a federal anti-nepotism law aimed at preventing officials from appointing relatives to government positions.
The law prohibits elected officials from appointing relatives to Cabinet positions, but may not apply to a job as White House adviser. However that is not completely certain.
“We don’t think that the nepotism issue is a close question," an attorney advising the Trump transition said.
The official said there is legal precedent for the president making White House hires “without regard” to federal personnel laws like the anti-nepotism statute.
Kushner will also not take a salary, which the official said will help combat any challenges on anti-nepotism laws.
Like his father-in-law, Kushner is a real-estate developer in New York City. He is the co-owner of Kushner Companies and in 2006 bought the New York Observer newspaper.
Kushner’s business dealings have come under scrutiny since Trump’s election victory. The New York Times reported last week Kushner was working on a deal with a major Chinese financial group with close ties to the Chinese government. The Kushner family business has done billions of dollars of business with foreign companies that threatens to complicate his role at the White House.
Trump is expected to address Kushner’s position along with how he’ll handle his own potential business conflicts at a press conference on Wednesday, his first since the November election.
Kushner is married to Ivanka Trump.
He said in a statement he is "energized" and "humbled" by the opportunity.