Top Dems Request Information on White House Counsel’s Review of Kushner’s Potential Ethical and Legal Violations
Top Dems Request Information on
White House Counsel’s Review of Kushner’s
Potential Ethical and Legal Violations
Office of Government Ethics
Confirms White House Inquiry
Washington, D.C. (Mar. 27, 2018)—Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits, and Administrative Rules, sent a letter to White House Counsel Donald McGahn requesting information about the review that the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) asked him to conduct to determine whether Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner violated ethics laws.
“Mr. Kushner’s refusal to divest his financial interests in Kushner Companies and his work on matters that, at a minimum, appear to impact those interests, may be illegal if Mr. Kushner has not taken the steps required under government ethics laws,” the Ranking Members wrote.
Cummings and Krishnamoorthi released a letter from Acting OGE Director David Apol on March 22, 2018, starting that the White House had begun the process of “ascertaining the facts necessary to determine whether any law or regulation has been violated and whether any additional procedures are necessary to avoid violations in the future” regarding Mr. Kushner.
Director Apol identified several criminal laws that could be implicated by Kushner’s actions, including the conflict of interest statute prohibiting Kushner from participating personally and substantially in matters that will affect his own financial interests. Director Apol also wrote that if there was a connection between the loan Kushner Companies received and an official act by Mr. Kushner, it could be a violation of the criminal statute against bribery.
Director Apol also explained that Kushner’s personal guarantee of loans to a private company with large outstanding debt obligations implicates OGE’s Standards of Conduct. He noted that a “routine consumer transaction” would not violate the Standards of Official Conduct, but “personally guaranteeing a large loan to a business or receiving a large loan on non-commercially available terms typically does not constitute a ‘routine consumer transaction.’”
“Your office has ignored repeated requests for information about steps your office or Mr. Kushner have taken to address his apparent conflicts,” the Ranking Members wrote to McGahn. “Your silence is disturbing given the increasing number of allegations about Mr. Kushner using his role in the White House to benefit his family’s company.”
The Ranking Members requested, by April 10, 2018, all documents describing the results of any review by the White House Counsel of Kushner’s compliance with ethics laws; all documents about any agreement by Kushner to recuse himself from matters related to Kushner Companies; all documents about any determination to authorize Kushner to participate in matters related to the Kushner Company; and all documents about whether Kushner Companies received a loan in connection with an official act by Kushner.
Click here to read today’s letter.
Click here to watch Ranking Member Krishnamoorthi discussing this letter on The Rachel Maddow Show last night.