The Barr family business is breaking up.
As William Barr, President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee, awaits a Senate vote to confirm his move to the top of the Justice Department, his daughter and son-in-law, both Justice Department employees, are on their way to different jobs.
Mary Daly, Barr’s oldest daughter and the director of Opioid Enforcement and Prevention Efforts in the deputy attorney general’s office, is leaving for a position at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit, a Justice official said.
Tyler McGaughey, the husband of Barr’s youngest daughter, has been detailed from the powerful US attorney’s office in Alexandria, Virginia, to the White House counsel’s office, two officials said.
It’s not clear if McGaughey’s switch is a result of Barr’s pending new role, and the kind of work he’ll be handling at the White House is not public knowledge.
Daly’s husband will 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 attorney general, Barr will oversee the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election and whether there was a conspiracy with the Trump campaign.
Barr, who himself had a storied career at the Justice Department, capped off by his first stint as attorney general under George H.W. Bush, joked about his family of government lawyers at his confirmation hearing last month.
Introducing his grandson, Barr deadpanned to the panel of senators: “Liam, who will someday be in the Department of Justice.”
“Think about medical school, Liam. Somebody needs to make money in the family,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who’s the Senate Judiciary chairman, shot back.