Follow the money. It’s the standard procedure in any white-collar criminal investigation where money generally forms the initial impetus for misbehavior, with monetary motivation the usual factor in continuing criminal activity.
That’s the important preface to the news that Presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner’s family business solicited $30 million worth of badly-needed funding from a large Israeli insurance firm right before Kushner traveled to Israel with the President on a state visit last May.
Kushner, who was given the task of bringing peace to the Middle East as part of his large and vague portfolio of responsibilities for his father-in-law, reportedly has stepped away from his family’s business while joining the Trump administration.
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The optics of the investment in his family’s real estate holdings, however, can’t inspire confidence in a Palestinian authority that has already given up on America’s ability to act as an honest broker of peace in light of Trump’s unilateral decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a pit of quicksand that every other American president has had the intelligence to sidestep.
According to a report in The New York Times Kushner Companies received around $30 million from Menora Mivtachim, one of Israel’s largest financial companies to invest in a series of 10 Maryland apartment complexes that have living conditions that have earned the Kushners the description in the press as amongst the worst slumlords in the country.
While Jared Kushner continues to claim that he’s recused himself from the day to day activities of his family business, like his father-in-law, he continues to profit from that business. A spokesperson for the Kushner companies defended the deal by saying that the company has partners from all over the world and that it:
“does no business with foreign sovereigns or governments, and is not precluded from doing business with any foreign company simply because Jared is working in the government.”
The White House also defended the ethics of the presidential advisor saying that the administration has:
“tremendous confidence in the job Jared is doing leading our peace efforts, and he takes the ethics rules very seriously and would never compromise himself or the administration.”
Whatever involvement Jared Kushner may or may not have had in setting up the deal his family made with the Israeli company, in ethics, the avoidance of the appearance of impropriety is everything, and this deal simply does not pass the smell test.