First up: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump should never have been allowed to work in the White House. Anti-nepotism rules exist for a reason, and that is so that the president’s unqualified parents are not given jobs in the world’s most important office.
Kushner, the son of a now pardoned criminal and real estate mogul, came to the White House from his former executive role in the family business, often playing the role of slum boss. Yet he was responsible for solving everything from the opioid crisis and modernizing the federal government to criminal justice reform, Middle East peace and the coronavirus pandemic. He hardly solved anything, but he would have helped secure a pardon for his father.
First up: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump should never have been allowed to work in the White House.
While we still don’t know exactly what Trump did in the White House, she always seemed to end up in a hall of power. Often scandal followed.
Yet it was so important that these two serve in administration that the Justice Department rejected its anti-nepotism guidelines and decades of precedent to let them work. They left their businesses behind, they said, disengaged themselves from any potential conflicts of interest and refused to receive a salary because they were not in Washington, DC, for their own benefit.
Where were they? A new analysis of their financial documents shows the couple disclosed up to $ 640 million in outside income while working in the White House. At the same time, the couple failed to fully disengage from their activities. Together, our analysis suggests that as the daughter and son-in-law of former President Donald Trump left the White House in January, they left a trail of ethical violations in their wake.
To be clear, there is still a lot we don’t know about Kushner and Trumps’ finances due to the way the Government Ethics Disclosure Office is set up, starting from wide ranges of income. and opaque holding companies. But what we know makes us think.
When he first joined the administration, Kushner did not disclose his ownership of a real estate investment startup called Cadre. He eventually admitted to having a major stake worth between $ 5 million and $ 25 million. Executive benefits from the “zones of opportunity” program championed by none other than Ivanka Trump. If this seems illegal to you, it’s because it could very well be. And although ethics officials told him at one point that he should sell his stake in Cadre, Kushner never did. By the time he left the White House, his stake in the Cadre was worth between $ 25 million and $ 50 million.
Cadre was a national enterprise, but other ethical concerns stem from the entanglements of couples abroad. Much has been said about foreign governments trying to win the favor of then-President Donald Trump by staying at his hotel a few blocks from the White House. According to her financial information, Ivanka Trump has made around $ 13 million from her stake in this hotel since 2017. But she has also done business in foreign countries. After much criticism, she closed her fashion brand but continued to obtain dozens of trademarks in foreign countries like China, Japan and Canada, which will allow her to take it over if she wishes. Interestingly, she still managed to make up to $ 1 million in 2019 from a brand that she said had gone out of business.
Outside of maybe Kellyanne Conway, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone with such blatant disregard for White House ethics as Ivanka Trump. (Conway, of course, told Americans in the White House briefing room to buy Ivanka Trump-branded goods.)
Here’s why it all matters: Kushner and Trump met with world leaders. Often. Sometimes, as in the case of Japan, these meetings took place around the same time that Trumps business was requesting or receiving trademark approvals. We know that thanks to the family-owned real estate business and his own fashion line, which was made overseas, Trump has significant business ties overseas. And when Kushner communicated with foreign executives, he sometimes did so from government servers using encrypted applications, meaning we have no idea if the company ever saw the light of day. It is a potential risk to national security.
Because we’ve never seen their tax returns, we only know what they disclosed, and those disclosures list nebulous LLC values that they don’t say where their money came from. We know they have done a lot of business overseas, but there is very little knowledge about where the money is going.
The four years leading up to this latest spasm of chaos have been defined by a constant drop of embezzlement, corruption and embezzlement.
It appears that the potential conflicts of interest may also have included extended family members. Just months after the administration began, Kushners’ sister introduced Chinese investors to Kushner’s corporate ties to him as well as a program that would help them obtain visas by investing in the family business. How many such things are there that we just don’t know?
Donald Trump’s presidency will forever be associated with the violent Capitol riot that marked his last days. But the four years leading up to this latest spasm of chaos have been defined by a constant drop of embezzlement, corruption and misdirection. The nepotism that put Kushner and Ivanka Trump in the White House is part of this corruption. But once settled in, the two seem to have quickly got to work exploiting the current ethical laws of the Americas. Who needs a salary when you can make millions in real estate and branded business?
Seemingly accountable to no one, Kushner and Trump acted as if the normal rules didn’t apply to them because, in fact, they didn’t. If there was ever a reason for Congress to pass tougher anti-nepotism laws, Kushner and Trump are.
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