Note: The letter url will open a pdf.

Related: What is Ivanka Trump's role in the White House and is it uncommon?

As reported Ivanka Trump is making her unpaid role an official one in the White House as "Special Assistant to the President".

Written in an article by Politico: Warren, Carper petition Ethics Office for information on Ivanka Trump’s White House role

Warren (D-Mass.) and Carper (D-Del.) sent a letter to director Walter Shaub on Wednesday asking whether the White House has requested or received guidance from the office about Ivanka Trump’s role in the White House and the rules about disclosures, divestments and recusals that could be required of her amid her growing White House role.

In the letter they go on to write:

Ms. Trump and the White House have suggested that she will not be an official government employee - a different approach than that taken by her husband, who is formally serving as a Senior Advisor to the President. Despite this assertion, Ms. Trump stated in December 2016 that she would "voluntarily follow all of the ethics rules placed on government employees." Her attorney earlier confirmed that she "plans to adhere to the same ethics and records retention rules that apply to government employees." It is therefore important to determine which ethics rules apply to Ms. Trump, which disclosures she will be required to make to demonstrate her compliance, and whether her compliance with these rules will be monitored and enforced.

Rhetoric: Are there different rules that apply to different roles or just the one set of rules?

Question: In this case which ethic rules would be applied to Ivanka Trump?

  • But her emails...?
    – RedSonja
    Nov 21, 2018 at 13:50

2 Answers 2


Are there different rules that apply to different roles or just the one set of rules?

No, they are the same set of rules.

“I have heard the concerns some have with my advising the president in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules, and I will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White House Office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees,” Ms. Trump said in a statement on Wednesday.

(emphasise mine)

In this case which ethic rules could be applied to Ivanka Trump?

The ethic rules for the Trump administration are defined in Executive Order 13770 which is signed on January 28, 2017. Also, every recent Presidents have signed similar EOs.

  • 1
    So, in short, she is obeying to rules written by Trump himself? Not bad :-D
    – motoDrizzt
    Mar 30, 2017 at 11:14
  • 3
    @motoDrizzt I am not a big fan of Trump myself, but as long as she obeys the same rules (and they are applied consistently) I do not see much of a problem (provided that the rules do not contain parts to the tune of "This does not apply to my family") :-D
    – SJuan76
    Mar 30, 2017 at 13:13
  • Saying, "yeah I'll follow the same rules" is quite different than being legally bound to follow the same rules. For the former, they could easily just change their minds, or if they are lying, and it comes up later, the "no laws were broken" excuse gets trotted out. If she was brought on and paid a ceremonial wage, like minimum wage, as a federal employee, I'd have more confidence in how concrete the stated good intentions are, since she would then be formally bound by laws and rules. Mar 30, 2017 at 14:52
  • 3
    @SJuan76: sorry if I've been misunderstood. It was not about being fan of anybody, just that I find ridiculous that the ethic rules of an administration are defined by the administration itself. Nothing against Trump (not in this case, at least)
    – motoDrizzt
    Mar 30, 2017 at 15:02

In terms of recordkeeping requirements, there is a substantial distinction between Federal Records and Presidential Records. The rules are different, under the the Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978 [an act of Congress] which is explained in detailed advice document from national archives.

Ivanka is an unpaid employee of the White House Office, potentially some her records may be considered Presidential Records, but not all are.

According to the archives "...the President has the discretion to determine what is personal material". Furthermore, Presidential Records are those directly related to or having an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President. (44 U.S.C. § 2201) If Ivanka Trump sends a personal e-mail to her father, that's not a Presidential Record.

However if Ivanka Trump sends a e-mail to a federal employee covered by the Federal Records Retention Act, that may be considered a Federal Record. As such, it would typically be stored in a different system, that of the agency receiving the message. If the message related to a constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President, would it fall under the Presidential Record realm.

Finally, the National Archives notes that:

With the tremendous increase in the use of electronic systems to create records, NARA worked collaboratively with the George W. Bush and Obama Administrations to also authorize the disposal of bulk electronic records and certain low-level administrative files. NARA believes that additional disposal authority may be appropriate in other circumstances, including when records may exist in more than one media, or when there are electronic copies of records that are maintained in either an electronic or paper recordkeeping system.

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