German Chancellor Angela Merkel sits to the left of Ivanka Trump, their backs facing the camera as they address President Donald Trump and a full table of German and American business leaders during a roundtable conversation at the White House on March 17

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) sits beside Ivanka Trump during a roundtable between American and German business leaders at the White House on March 17, 2017. 

Credit:

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Over President Donald Trump's first 100 days, we're asking him questions that our audience wants answers to. Join the project by tweeting this question to @realDonaldTrump with the hashtag #100Days100Qs.

#67. @realDonaldTrump, does your daughter's new job in the White House fall in line with ethics guidelines? #100Days100Qs

The president’s nearest and dearest are no strangers to the Trump White House.

Jared Kushner — who, in addition to being Ivanka Trump’s husband and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, is a top aide to the administration — received the Justice Department’s blessing when officials said Kushner could serve as a White House adviser without violating federal laws that safeguard against nepotism.

Now, Ivanka Trump is joining the team, too.

Ivanka Trump had previously served informally as an adviser to her father. When German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the White House on March 17, for example, Ivanka Trump helped organize a roundtable discussion about vocational training between Merkel, President Trump, and a group of American and German business leaders. After their meeting, Ivanka Trump accepted an invitation from Merkel to attend an international women's summit in Berlin in April. 

At first, neither Ivanka Trump nor the president seemed to have any intention of making her a federal employee. But that changed Wednesday, when the Trump administration announced that the president's daughter would, in fact, become an official, unpaid adviser to the White House. 

The change in position is likely due to the tide of ethical questions that critics raised last week, when Ivanka Trump was granted an office in the West Wing, security clearance, and official White House communications tech — a trio usually reserved for full-fledged staffers — but was not given an official job. 

If Ivanka Trump had stayed off the White House payroll, she would have had no obligation to abide by the guidelines that staffers typically adhere to — including anti-nepotism laws that exist to ensure all staffers are treated equally, and that family business doesn't interfere with the work of federal employees who happen to be related to the president.

Now that she's accepted an official position as "special assistant to the president," Ivanka Trump will be accountable to the rules and regulations that ensure federal employees are working for the national interest, rather than in the interest of their own familial or business interests.   

However, the question remains: How ethical is it for a president's administration to pull so heavily from the chief executive's own family?

The tensions of doing business with family members have already come into focus. Just as White House officials announced that Kushner would lead the White House Office of American Innovation in an effort to revamp the federal government, the Senate intelligence committee said it planned to investigate his role as a contact-person with Russian officials during Trump’s campaign and transition into the presidency.  

President Trump, your long career in the private sector has already brought a great deal of scrutiny to potential conflicts of interest in your administration. As your administration begins to look more and more like a family affair, will you assure the American people that your family is not having undue influence? Click here to tweet the president.

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