Kushner Versus Warren On Family Loans

Earlier this month, we learned that Jared Kushner’s family just happened to receive a pair of nine-figure loans shortly after the First Son-in-Law met with the lenders’ executives at the White House. It wasn’t a great look, particularly as it came on the heels of news that Ivanka’s husband had supported a blockade of Qatar just weeks after his father unsuccessfully attempted to get the country’s finance minister to invest in Kushner Cos’ doomed Midtown tower, and that at least four countries had discussed ways to take advantage of Kushner’s massive financial debts and political inexperience. In fact, one might get the sense that young Jared, who has held few jobs that were not given to him by his father or his father-in-law, has no business working in the White House, where he’s accomplished approximately none of the goals he set out to tick off last year. And while we would never suggest the only thing Kushner appears qualified to do in the West Wing is use his position to improve his family’s financial situation, Senator Elizabeth Warren isn’t so sure!

In a pair of characteristically fiery letters sent to Citigroup and Apollo Global Management—the institutions that lent Kushner Cos. more than half a billion dollars after a few meet-and-greets with Jared in his D.C. office—Warren, along with Representative Elijah Cummings, Senator Tom Carper, and Senator Gary Peters, reminded the companies’ C.E.O.s that “federal ethics laws prohibit federal employees from profiting from their government service.” Can you guess where this is going? “Mr. Kushner’s refusal to fully divest from his financial holdings,” the group wrote, “raises questions about his behavior as a Senior Adviser to President Trump. It would be a serious matter if the loan[s] provided to Kushner Companies . . . resulted in a violation of federal ethics laws.”

Warren and Co. demanded to know, by March 20, the dates the loans were offered and the process by which Kushner Companies received them. They also humbly requested a record of all meetings between the firms and Jared, details about those meetings, and all documents related to the loan process. As The New York Times reported, the $184 million Apollo loan came after co-founder Joshua Harris met with Kushner on “multiple occasions,” while the $325 million Citigroup loan wound up in Kushner Cos’ pocket after C.E.O. Michael Corbat had a sit-down with the boy prince of New Jersey. In both instances, the money reportedly went toward projects in which Jared retains a financial stake. Incidentally, both companies benefitted from Trump’s tax overhaul, with private-equity firms like Apollo breathing a sigh of relief that Trump decided not to close the carried-interest loophole that he swore up and down on the campaign trail was a goner. According to the Times, the loan from Apollo was “triple the size of the average property loan made by Apollo’s real-estate lending arm.”

Spokespeople for the various parties involved all dismissed the implication of impropriety. Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Abbe Lowell, Kushner’s lawyer, told the Times that Kushner has taken “no part of any business, loans, or projects with or for” Kushner Companies since entering the White House. A spokesperson for Apollo said that the executive who visited the White House was not involved in the decision to lend to Kushner’s family. A spokesperson for Citigroup explained that Kushner Cos. is a longtime client and that the loan was made with no deference to Jared’s political position. And a spokesperson for Kushner Cos. bemoaned the attempt to “make insinuating connections that do not exist.”

Luckily for Kushner, the requests will probably go as far as those sent last summer by Representative Maxine Waters to Deutsche Bank asking for information about the president’s finances—which is to say, nowhere. While a subpoena would likely get people talking, Warren would need to have the cooperation of her Republican colleagues, who apparently believe it’s Kushner (and the Trump family)’s God-given right to profit off the presidency.

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