By Joel D. Joseph
After Robert Kennedy left the Justice Department, his term of service inspired another accomplishment. His tenure convinced Congress to prohibit nepotism in the appointment of all federal officials. Bobby Kennedy was just a 34 year old and an inexperienced attorney when he was appointed attorney general by his older brother. President John F. Kennedy joked about it, "I can't see that it's wrong to give him a little legal experience before he goes out to practice law." Although Bobby Kennedy turned out to be an excellent attorney general by helping to desegregate the South among his other accomplishments, his closeness to the president prevented Bobby Kennedy from be a truly independent attorney general.In 1967, a new law was passed restricting any federal official from appointing, or even advocating, the hiring of a relative if the official has any degree of jurisdiction over the proposed official's position. This section of the Code has come to be known as the Bobby Kennedy Law. 5 U.S. Code §"3110. The law provides:
A public official (including the President) may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in or to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative of the public official .
The term "relative" was defined to include a sister, brother, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law and other family relations. This law has been clearly violated by Donald Trump's appointment of his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner to be his presidential advisors. There is no exception in the law for those who are not on the government payroll.
Both Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were 35 years old at the time of their appointments as presidential advisors, about the same age as Bobby Kennedy was when he was appointed. In sharp contrast to Robert Kennedy's achievements, neither Ivanka Trump nor Jared Kushner have had successful results. Jared was supposed to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, build the border wall and end poverty. Ivanka was supposed to soften her father's anti-immigrant and anti-woman agenda. Neither of these nepotic appointees have achieved any significant success for the Trump Administration. Further, Jared Kushner failed to achieve a security clearance through normal channels, forcing the president to override the findings of intelligence officials.
Both Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are examples of privileged offspring of wealthy parents who got "special" treatment to get into Ivy League schools. Charles Kushner, Jared's father, pledged $2.5 million to Harvard University in 1998, not long before his son Jared was admitted into the prestigious Ivy League school. According to a former official at the Frisch School in Paramus, N.J. that Kushner attended, "There was no way anybody in the administrative office of the school thought he would on the merits get into Harvard. His GPA did not warrant it, his SAT scores did not warrant it." According to the University of Pennsylvania student newspaper, President Trump donated $1.5 just before Don Jr. and Ivanka were admitted to the Wharton School at the university. Ivanka may have been qualified, but her father's donations certainly did not hurt her chances for admission.
They Should Just Resign
It is time for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner to resign from office. They are an embarrassment to the nation and a glaring violation of federal law. Robert Reich said, "We don't have to sit by and watch our meritocracy be replaced by a permanent aristocracy, and our democracy be undermined by dynastic wealth."
The appointments of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner to high-level positions that they are not qualified for is the unlawful establishment of an aristocracy. They should quietly leave town and go back to New York. If they don't leave, Congress should investigate violations of the Robert Kennedy anti-nepotism law and hold hearings on how Donald Trump did not drain the swamp, he is the swamp.