In case you needed a reminder — many of those currently at the highest levels of American government had no government experience when starting their jobs. They’re money-hungry businesspeople. Bloomberg shared this weekend that the Kushner family business is seeking a loan of some $1.15 billion from the government-owned lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the purchase of apartments in Maryland and Virginia.
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner led that family business before assuming an advisory position in the current administration, and a spokesperson for his lawyer Abbe Lowell insisted that he remains “walled off” from the business enterprise.
Peter Mirijanian insisted:
‘As part of an ethics agreement he has and has followed, Mr. Kushner has had no role in the Kushner Companies or its activities since joining the government over two years ago. He is walled off from any business or investment decisions and has no idea or knowledge of these activities.’
Still, the suspicious nature of the undertaking remains. It’s not as though the Kushner family business can ever be completely detached from Jared Kushner, let alone from his White House position. There could be a push for special treatment from government lenders because of Kushner’s prominence — Bloomberg notes that despite Trump not having any executive role in his family business while in office, Deutsche Bank considered extending the terms of loans it’s previously granted to the Trump family to avert a “public relations nightmare” should they have to seek repayment.
The Kushner family business has been caught using Jared’s name to boost themselves before. In early 2017, they pushed for Chinese investors to pour money into their enterprise in order to be able to benefit from the EB-5 visa program, touting their keynote speaker as Jared Kushner’s sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer. In the time since, the Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation into their company over their usage of the visa program, which allows for wealthy foreigners who contribute to job creation in the U.S. to apply for access to the country.
Kushner personally has interacted with business targets of his family at times, too. While in his White House position, he met with the investment firm Apollo Global Management’s co-founder Joshua Harris and then-Citigroup chief executive Michael Corbat a short time before they dished out massive loans to his family business. Apollo’s $184 million loan was reportedly about triple the size of its average loan.
Similarly, should a deal with Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac go through, the Kushner family business’s benefit from government loans could more than double. At the time Kushner joined the administration, the family business had about $500 million from the lenders.
Few besides Mirijanian commented. Neither Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or a number of top officials at Kushner Companies had anything to share with Bloomberg.
In theory, depending on where the case goes from here, House Democrats could train their sights on the issue. Despite threatening pronouncements from the president, they’ve pushed ahead with their investigative and oversight efforts, and they’ve even said they’re prepared to subpoena Jared Kushner himself.
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