Barr’s Son-In-Law Advising Trump on “Legal Issues” While His Daughter Headed to FinCEN

Canary. Photo by 4028mdk09.

In the Senate confirmation hearing for William Barr’s nomination for top cop of the United States, the good old boys jovially yucked it up with each other as Barr “joked about his family of government lawyers.”

In February, on the day William Barr was expected to be confirmed Vanity Fair, via CNN, reported that Barr’s son-in-law Tyler McGaughey – who is married to Barr’s youngest daughter – quietly left his job at the powerful US attorney’s offices in Alexandria, Virginia “for a new gig that will seemingly provide even more opportunities for conflicts of interest, this time of the Russian variety,” for a spot in the White House counsel’s office and will be advising Trump on “legal issues.”

CNN reports that McGaughey, the husband of Barr’s youngest daughter, has been hired as an attorney in the White House counsel’s office, where he’ll “advise the president, the executive office, and White House staff on legal issues concerning the president and the presidency.” While the division is separate from the legal team that defends Trump in the Russia investigation—a group of leading lights that includes Rudy “maybe there was collusion” Giuliani—its work nevertheless does “intersect with the investigation.” (Trump reportedly blamed former White House counsel Don McGahn for failing to bring the probe to a close.)

Vanity Fair

At the time of CNN’s report, it was unclear if McGaughey’s move would be pending Barr’s confirmation and it was not, and is not, public knowledge what work McGaughey is doing to this day.

Meanwhile, about the same time, Barr’s oldest daughter Mary Daly worked in the deputy attorney general’s office and was “director of Opioid Enforcement and Prevention Efforts” left to work at the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit in Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) while Daly’s own husband was to “remain in his position in the Justice Department’s National Security Division for now.”

The moves were by choice and are not required under federal nepotism laws, but Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, called them “a good idea” to “avoid the bad optics that could come from the appearance of them working for him.”

However, Shaub added that McGaughey’s detail to the White House counsel’s office was “concerning.”

“That’s troubling because it raises further questions about Barr’s independence,” Shaub said.


As if that information wasn’t enough, now that we have the recent New York Times report that Trump lobbied the Trump coalition Republican party caucus’ [yes, I just made that up] Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell to “prioritize a confirmation vote for his nominee to be the chief counsel of the Internal Revenue Service,” implying it should take precedence over Barr’s confirmation now has people speculating was Trump plotting to pack Treasury and the IRS in an effort to hide his taxes from the American people once his party lost the US House to Democrats in November.

In July, when Mr. Desmond was first being considered by the Senate Finance Committee, Bloomberg reported that he had briefly advised the Trump Organization on tax issues before Mr. Trump took office. James Wilkinson, a spokesman for Mr. Desmond, told Bloomberg that Mr. Desmond had helped with “a discrete reporting matter for a subsidiary company that was resolved with no tax impact.”

In private practice, Mr. Desmond worked for a time alongside William Nelson and Sheri Dillon, who currently serve as tax counsels to the Trump Organization.

“The I.R.S. chief counsel advises the agency director on “all matters pertaining to the interpretation, administration and enforcement of the Internal Revenue Code, as well as all other legal matters,” according to a description on the agency’s website. The chief counsel reports jointly to the director of the I.R.S. and the Treasury Department’s general counsel.”

Desmond was confirmed two weeks after Barr on Feb. 27.

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