The Trump family is, by all appearances, quite literally making money off the White House. Specifically, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner has been caught making up to $3 million from companies that have benefited from Trump administration policy initiatives, according to a new report from The Daily Beast, which cites the 2019 financial disclosures for Kushner and his wife and fellow presidential adviser, Ivanka Trump. The disclosures were made public by the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, otherwise known as CREW.
In 2019, Kushner received $100,001 to $1 million from a business called Gellert 80 West End LLC, along with $100,001 to $1 million from another business called Pier Village Hotel III JV, LLC, and $343,000 from PV Bungalow LLC. All of these companies are part of the Kushner family’s so-called “Pier Village” development in Long Beach, New Jersey, which got tax breaks as part of the “Opportunity Zone” program that was enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. That program gives tax breaks to businesses who invest in disadvantaged communities. Kushner’s earnings also include up to $1 million in rent money from companies that got forgivable loans as part of the Paycheck Protection Program, which has been enacted amidst the economic upheaval of the Coronavirus pandemic.
It’s not even just a tangential connection between this income and Kushner’s role in the administration. Ivanka specifically promoted the Opportunity Zone component of the 2017 tax reform, which would end up specifically financially benefiting her husband. As The Daily Beast puts it, Ivanka “was a vocal proponent of this program during the negotiations over the controversial Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which has been the administration’s biggest achievement in office.”
CREW has advocated for a Justice Department investigation into Ivanka’s role in promoting the Opportunity Zone program. CREW communications director Jordan Libowitz commented:
‘Ivanka Trump advocated for the Opportunity Zones program while her husband was profiting from it, representing a clear conflict of interest. The program seems to have been made to be easily exploitable by the rich and well connected, starting with those related to the president.’
Kushner’s rent income included $100,001 to $1 million from a subsidiary of the company that owns the building that the family business is housed in. Six tenants of the building received Paycheck Protection Program loans ranging in value from $150,000 to $2 million. That money was meant to keep businesses operating amidst the economic chaos of the pandemic through means including, although not limited to, covering their rent money.
This situation is far from the only occasion on which the Trump family’s financial relationship to the presidency has come under scrutiny. Infamously, President Trump himself maintains his financial stake in his company, meaning that any time a political function is held at one of his facilities, he’s making money. That opens up a huge opportunity for corrupt attempts by political groups to curry favor with the president, not to mention the sheer volume of government cash flowing into the facilities when Trump goes there on his own and the Secret Service has to tag along.