Would Donald Trump's children play as big a role in his theoretical
presidency as they do his campaign? That is the question recently raised
by Government Executive following Donald Trump Jr.'s recent public
comments proposing he'd have an important role as his father's
How then would a Trump Presidency deal with federal nepotism laws? Government
Executive turned to Attorney Debra D'Agostino for insight on these
laws and the leverage an administration might have to bend them. According
to her, it may be possible for a president to argue that anti-nepotism
statutes, like U.S. Code Title 5, Section 3110, are unconstitutional.
"It has not come up and if Trump were to nominate a relative and someone
challenged him, there’s a good chance the statute would be found
unconstitutional because of separation of powers concerns," said
Attorney D'Agostino. "The check built into the Constitution is
that while the president can nominate someone for a Cabinet position,
the Senate must approve."
Office of Special Counsel Ambiguity
Attorney D'Agostino also predicted a possible gray area in the position
of Office of Special Counsel—a key figure in charge of enforcing
crucial employment policies at federal agencies. "Because the Special
Counsel is also nominated by the president, [it isn’t clear] given
the language of the statute that OSC would have the authority to take
a prosecutorial action against the president," she said.
One area where Trump (or any president) would be able to hire family members?
White House staff. According to Attorney D'Agostino, U.S. Code Title
3 allows a president to choose anyone to fill those positions. "These
people serve at the pleasure of the president, and are often people who
worked on the campaign or as close advisors," she told Government
Executive. "The president can plug in whomever he or she wants in
those positions in his or her inner circle. That’s very different
from Cabinet-level positions."
You can read more of 'Might Trump's Hunt-Loving Son Bump Into Federal
Nepotism Law?' and Attorney D'Agostino's insight at the
Government Executive website.