Donald Trump tapped election lawyer Donald McGahn as White House counsel on Friday.
McGahn will be tasked with managing Trump’s many conflicts of interest and he will also likely help establish a trust to manage the president-elect’s business holdings.
It’s a daunting and high-profile job that comes amid a constant stream of news reports that raise questions about whether Trump can adequately disentangle himself from his business dealings once he takes office.
Trump has faced criticism for saying that he will put his children in charge of his business during his presidency, a move that would put little separation between the president-elect and his massive web of companies. Others worry Trump could leverage the power of the presidency to boost his business interests, pointing to a recent meeting he held with his Indian business partners and his decision to include his daughter Ivanka in a meeting with Japan’s prime minister.
McGahn, a partner at Jones Day, previously worked as general counsel for the Trump campaign. Trump’s campaign has paid McGahn’s law firm more than $2.7 million, according to the most recent FEC reports.
He is a former commissioner and chairman of the Federal Election Commission, where he was a staunch advocate of deregulation.
McGahn was also a lead lawyer for a key group in the Koch brothers’ network – Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce – before joining the Trump campaign. He’s one of a growing number of people with ties to the Kochs to join Trump’s administration.
He has long-standing ties to Trump. McGahn’s uncle worked for Trump for many years and helped Trump cut deals that paved the way for him to open his Atlantic City casinos. He’s also married to Shannon McGahn, staff director for the House Financial Services Committee.
“Don has a brilliant legal mind, excellent character and a deep understanding of constitutional law,” Trump said in a release from the Trump transition team. “He will play a critical role in our administration, and I am grateful that he is willing to serve our country at such a high-level capacity.”