Monday, January 23, 2017

Presidential Advisor Update: Kushner Appointment Cleared by Justice Department

Career DOJ Lawyer Agrees 1978 Statute Authorizes Appointment

A career Justice Department lawyer on Friday issued a 14 page memorandum opinion to the Counsel for the President reaching the same conclusion about the Kushner appointment that I did, which is that the 1978 statute grants the President unfettered ability to select advisors. The statute, he wrote, "exempts positions in the White House Office from the prohibition on nepotism in 5 U.S.C. § 3110.

While some will question this result and his impartiality, the author, Daniel L. Koffsky, is not a Trump appointee but rather Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). He has had a distinguished career at the Justice Department, as exemplified by his receipt in 2013 of DOJ's Mary C. Lawton Lifetime Service Award. As the DOJ press release noted, this award
recognizes employees who have served at least 20 years in the Department and have demonstrated high standards of excellence and dedication throughout their careers. . . . Koffsky is honored for his exceptional contributions to OLC, the department, and the rest of the Executive Branch, including especially the sharing of his expertise across an extremely wide range of legal topics. A living repository of OLC’s precedents and practice, Koffsky has brilliantly served the department and his colleagues. He is a lawyer with the utmost integrity and judgment.
High praise for sure. The Attorney General who gave Koffsky the award? Eric Holder, President Obama's first Attorney General.

Amount Jared Kushner reportedly will be paid? $0. 
Value of a legal opinion about his appointment by a career DOJ lawyer heralded by Eric Holder? Priceless.