Understanding Ivanka’s Role in the Trump Administration
Update: Lawsuit Filed May 17, 2017
American Oversight is suing today to force five agencies across the federal government to release correspondence with Ivanka Trump. In late March, 2017, Ms. Trump announced her intention to become an unpaid federal employee. Yet even before then, as a private citizen, she had been actively functioning as an informal adviser to her father, participating in meetings at federal agencies, taking diplomatic trips, and consulting on policy decisions.
Internal communications between executive branch employees can sometimes be withheld from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) – but those restrictions wouldn’t apply to correspondence between Ms. Trump and federal officials during the period when she was not a federal employee.
What We’re Seeking
- Correspondence, documents and other contact between Ivanka Trump and key government agencies, including the Departments of Commerce, Education, and Labor, as well as the Small Business Administration, Office of Personnel Management and the Treasury Department.
- A detailed understanding of Ms. Trump’s role in her father’s Administration, both inside the White House and across the federal government.
Ivanka Trump has played a significant role in her father’s work, both before and after his election as president. In the Trump Organization, she served as an executive alongside her brothers, and during her father’s presidential campaign, she was a key adviser, helping to direct campaign strategy and formulate policy.
Since Donald Trump’s election last November, Ms. Trump has similarly held a prominent role in the president’s team. After initially promising to not join the administration, she first took an informal role at the White House, before being appointed as an Assistant to the President in late March.
In her new capacity as one of the president’s top aides, Ms. Trump has served as a diplomat, meeting with foreign leaders and travelling abroad to represent the United States, as well as an adviser to her father on major policy areas, including climate change, LGBTQ rights and the role of women in the workplace.
Ms. Trump’s role in the administration is highly unusual and has raised a range of concerns about the violation of federal nepotism rules, the risk of disclosing classified information, as well as the wide policy portfolios being given to her and her husband, Jared Kushner, despite a lack of expertise or background in those issues.
Given that, and given the apparent importance of her role in the day-to-day functioning of the federal government, Ms. Trump’s official correspondence and record is critical for the public’s understanding of her extremely unusual role in the Trump White House.
- May 11, 2017 – Office of Personnel Management – Personnel and vetting forms for Ivanka Trump; correspondence with Ivanka Trump regarding her status as an unpaid employee (OPM-17-0147)
- March 31, 2017 – Department of the Treasury – Communications and records of meetings between Ivanka Trump and Treasury officials (TREAS-17-0066)
- March 31, 2017 – Department of Labor – Communications and records of meetings between Ivanka Trump and DOL officials (DOL-17-0070)
- March 31, 2017 – Department of Commerce – Communications and records of meetings between Ivanka Trump and Commerce officials (COMM-17-0067)
- March 31, 2017 – Small Business Administration – Communications and records of meetings between Ivanka Trump and SBA officials (SBA-17-0068)
- March 31, 2017 – Department of Education – Communications and records of meetings between Ivanka Trump and Education officials (ED-17-0069)