The ethical catastrophe that is Donald Trump and his family has added another notch to its belt of self-serving exploits with the news today about the latest investigation into the finances of presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.
According to The Wall Street Journal, White House lawyers are investigating the circumstances surrounding two loans totaling over $500 million made to the Kushner Companies after the Senior Advisor to Trump met in the presidential mansion with executives from Citibank and Apollo Global Management.
The attorneys are trying to determine whether the loans may have violated any federal criminal statutes or government ethics rules, the Office of Government Ethics told Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) who had alerted the agency of his questions about the propriety of the transactions.
The Kushner Companies are the faltering real estate empire started by Jared Kushner’s father and currently run by other members of the family as Jared tries to bring peace to the Middle East, among other vague items in his portfolio.
Last month, The New York Times revealed the disbursement of a $184 million loan from the real-estate division of Apollo Global Management and a $325 million loan from Citigroup to the privately-held real estate holding company after senior executives of both of those financial institutions met with Kushner in the White House.
“I have discussed this matter with the White House Counsel’s Office in order to ensure that they have begun the process of ascertaining the facts necessary to determine whether any law or regulation has been violated,” David Apol, the acting director of the Office of Government Ethics wrote in a letter to Rep. Krishnamoorthi. “During that discussion, the White House informed me that they had already begun this process.”
Citigroup, for its part, claims that their loan was “completely appropriate” and cited a long-standing business relationship with the Kushner family.
“Nothing related to the [Brooklyn] loan or any other personal business with Mr. Kushner or the Kushner Companies was discussed at that meeting,” Citigroup said.
Apollo Global Management has yet to comment on the loans.
While Jared Kushner partially divested himself of some of his family business holdings and officially resigned from the business operations, he maintains a financial interest in many Kushner Cos. properties, including those that received the loans.
His family’s companies have been embroiled in several investigations, including their exchange of US visas in return for investments in their properties and the falsification of rent control data for some of their properties that allowed them to evict long-time tenants in favor of higher paying gentrifiers.
Kushner himself has seen his security clearance downgraded after it was discovered that multiple White House staffers were still operating under interim clearances because of problems with their applications.
This latest investigation may be the final nail in the coffin for Kushner’s government service if the White House attorneys can be trusted to investigate the matter impartially. If any serious improprieties are found with the loans currently being probed, his father-in-law may have to come to the rescue with a pardon to ensure that his grandchildren won’t have to visit their dad in prison.