Speed Reads

Things that make you go hmmm

Obama, Carter, Nixon all had requests to appoint family members to White House jobs denied

For decades the Justice Department warned presidents against appointing their relatives to White House positions, including unpaid positions, citing a 1967 anti-nepotism law, Politico reports. The earlier opinions — stretching from President Richard Nixon to President Barack Obama — were ruled obsolete in January at the request of the incoming Trump administration, citing a 1978 law that "permits [the president] to make appointments to the White House Office that the anti-nepotism statute might otherwise forbid," a Justice Department attorney, Daniel Koffsky, wrote.

Politico's Freedom of Information Act request revealed that in 2009, the Justice Department ruled that Obama could not appoint his half-sister to a commission on White House fellowships or his brother-in-law to a commission on physical fitness. In 1977, the Justice Department ruled that President Jimmy Carter "may not" appoint "Mrs. Carter to be the chairman of a Commission on Mental Health." And in 1983, lawyers informed President Ronald Reagan that "we think the proposal to have a member of the president's family serve actively on the Commission on Private Sector Initiatives raises virtually the same problems raised by Mrs. Carter's proposed service."

White House spokesman Raj Shah told Politico that it is in the Trump administration's opinion that the 1978 law renders the earlier rulings obsolete. "These opinions were issued before the passage of a 1978 law specifically authorizing the president to make White House Office appointments 'without regard to any other provision of law,'" Shah said. "These legal opinions are therefore inconsistent with subsequent congressional enactments. Rather than reversing prior policy, the administration is upholding the law as written today." Read the full report at Politico.