President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, may have used his job in government to “enrich himself,” a congressman says. The incident proves once again that ethics isn’t the Trump family’s forte.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) claims that Kushner failed to reveal he owned the Cadre company, keeping the detail out of his financial disclosure forms on purpose, Newsweek reports. As a result, Lieu told reporters, he may have profited millions.
Claiming Kushner’s behavior is unethical, Lieu said he wants to strip the president’s son-in-law of his security clearance.
"It appears [Kushner] ended up being the beneficiary of that omission," says Lieu. "He enriched himself by failing to disclose the asset."
By not disclosing the online real estate platform Cadre as an asset, Kushner was able to keep his stake in the start-up while in office and during a period in which the business saw a major boost in funding.
Being Cadre’s co-founder along with his brother, Joshua Kushner, and Ryan Williams, Kushner’s Harvard classmate, it’s odd to think he would have forgotten to mention he had a stake in the company in his March financial disclosure reports.
According to Kushner’s lawyer, the absence of the start-up in the documents is due to the fact that his holding company, BFPS Ventures, had acquired his interest in Cadre in February. According to his financial records, the purchase was a $100,000 to $250,000 transaction. Yet on July 21, his interest in Cadre was valued at between $5 million and $25 million.
Between March and July, Cadre had raised an additional $65 million from donors, such as tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel and venture capitalist George Soros. All the while, Kushner's stake was never officially mentioned.
The company operates online, and it offers investors access to emerging real estate properties. According to ethics experts, Newsweek adds, the fact the online platform gives anyone — even foreign investors — access may serve as a way to keep their identities hidden from the public while well-known to Cadre insiders.
As a result, Kushner may have thought that remaining associated with Cadre while in a position of power within the White House could be of use, as it would allow foreign governments to invest in his business in exchange for special favors, says Virginia Canter, executive branch ethics counsel for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
“Because of the real estate interests that can be traded on the platform, and who can be buying and selling that real estate, [Kushner’s] financial interest in Cadre concerns me,” she told Newsweek.
“You can have foreign governments or other individuals who have significant interests before Jared Kushner. This is the man responsible for Middle East peace talks and the American Innovation office,” she added.
What’s worse, she concluded, is that whatever goes on with Cadre is off limits to the public, making it difficult to hold Kushner accountable.
Yet again, the Trump family seems unwilling to take conflict of interest matters seriously, making a mockery out of American taxpayers by allowing special interests to have such a close (and cozy) relationship with the White House.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas