Being related to the president may give Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner some leeway as far as government ethics are concerned. However, when it comes to financial disclosures, Trump and Kushner are not allowed to bend the rules.
McClatchy reported on Tuesday that Trump and Kushner, who are both senior advisers to President Trump, have each been fined $200 for missing deadlines to submit their financial disclosure reports.
This is the second time that Kushner has been fined for late filing. The president’s son-in-law has had an especially difficult time getting his disclosures right. In total, he’s made changes to his form 39 times, after receiving an 18-day filing extension.
Kathleen Clark, an ethics lawyer who previously worked for D.C. government and the Senate Judiciary Committee, and now teaches at Washington University School of Law, said about Trump and Kushner’s tardiness:
‘It suggests a lack of organization…chaos on the part of the lawyers or the principal. It’s not the preferred way of handling things.’
Kushner and Trump’s original financial statements were each last amended on July 20 and, after, were quickly certified by the Office of Government Ethics. However, some of the information included in the forms was flagged by American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic opposition research group, and they were required to revise them.
The first daughter and her husband both had discrepancies in the items they’d listed as joint assets and investments. For example, with regards to a partial stake in a Monmouth, N.J. shopping center, Trump listed the value as less than $1,001, and Kushner listed the value as exceeding $1 million.
Matthew Sanderson, a campaign finance lawyer in Washington, said about the discrepancy:
‘I can’t think of a good reason why they would differ drastically.’
Harrell Kirstein, a spokesman for the Trump War Room at American Bridge 21st Century, added about the multiple revisions Kushner and Trump have made to the forms:
‘As Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s paperwork mistakes continue to pile up, it is harder and harder to believe this is all a series of accidents.’
Ethics watchdogs have also raised questions about properties that Trump and Kushner have left off their forms. For example, neither of them listed a $345 million piece of real estate in Brooklyn that was purchased partially by the Kushner Companies in December 2016.
A White House official familiar with the transaction told McClatchy that the ethics office’s reporting requirement is triggered by ownership, and neither Kushner nor the trusts controlled by his family had ownership interests in the property.
Under federal law, federal employees like Trump and Kushner are required to pay a fine of $200 if their financial disclosure statements are more than 30 days late. The late fee can be waived if the White House’s ethics officer determines that the late filing was due to “extraordinary circumstances…which made the delay reasonably necessary,” such as the agency’s failure to notify an employee about the need to file the disclosure report.
The White House official said that both Kushner and Trump are planning to pay the fines they’ve incurred.
Featured image via Silvia Lore/NurPhoto via Getty Images.