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

President Trump and Jared Kushner.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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."

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