Ivanka Trump’s and Jared Kushner’s roles in the administration are highly unusual and have raised concerns about the violation of federal nepotism rules, the risk of disclosing classified information, as well as the wide policy portfolios they have been given despite a lack of expertise or background in those issues.
In January 2017, as Jared Kushner received approval from the Office of Government Ethics to allow him to work in the White House, it was initially reported that Ivanka Trump would not take a formal role in the administration. After it was announced in late March 2017 that she would officially become a federal employee in the White House, American Oversight submitted FOIA requests seeking communications between Ivanka Trump and several federal agencies, eventually filing a lawsuit against the agencies for failure to respond.
In September 2017, documents released by American Oversight as well as independent news reports confirmed that both Kushner and Ivanka Trump had been using personal, private email accounts during their time working in the White House. Reports also surfaced that they had set up a private server, ijkfamily.com, in December 2016 in preparation for Kushner to join the White House.
On November 19, 2018, the Washington Post reported that Ivanka Trump used a personal account to send hundreds of emails to White House aides and cabinet officials — a fact White House officials only learned of because of American Oversight’s record requests — in probable violation of the Presidential Records Act, which requires that all official White House communications be preserved.
Following the Washington Post report, American Oversight sent a letter demanding that Congress investigate Ivanka Trump’s use of personal email and possible violations of the law, as well as risks to national security.
Still, Ivanka Trump and Kushner continue to push the boundaries of their influence in the Trump administration, from their reported unnecessary use of military transport to their potential involvement in the renewal of leases for a Chilean mining company owned by the family of their Washington, D.C. landlord. Kushner has led multiple delegations to the Middle East, including one in February 2019. He reportedly traveled with Jason Greenblatt, then the president’s special envoy for Middle East peace, aides, and State Department officials. Likewise, Ivanka Trump has made public displays of her political reach, including attending the 2019 G20 summit alongside elected leaders from all over the world.