Newsweek and researchers at the American Bridge just revealed that White House senior adviser and Trump son–in–law Jared Kushner has omitted yet another conflicting financial interest from his ethics filings.
In a report on Sunday, the magazine described “a pattern of egregious omissions” including the most recent involving Kushner’s role at a foundation that funded Israeli settlements, which he didn’t mention on filings to the Office of Government Ethics.
From 2006 to 2015, Kushner was co–director of the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation, which funded settlements that were illegal under international law, according to Newsweek. But he didn’t mention this in his filings, despite being tasked by President Donald Trump as a key White House envoy to the Middle East for peace negotiations.
“The first son-in-law has repeatedly amended his financial records since his initial filing in March, along with three separate revisions to his security clearance application. Despite correcting his financial history on multiple occasions, he has yet to include his role as co-director to the family foundation,” the magazine reported.
This omission is especially relevant given the investigation of Kushner’s interactions with officials from Russia and other countries as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, and the cooperation as a government witness of former national security adviser and Trump campaign adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn, who was brought on board by Kushner, pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI and acknowledged that he is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.
Court documents disclosed on Friday revealed that a “very senior member” of Trump’s transition team, who has since been identified as Kushner, ordered Flynn to negotiate with then Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak against a U.N. Security Council resolution against Israel and West Bank settlements in December 2016, the Los Angeles Times reported. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations that month with Kislyak.
“Jared called Flynn and told him you need to get on the phone to every member of the Security Council and tell them to delay the vote,” a Trump transition team member said, according to BuzzFeed.
Other media accounts reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to prevent or delay the Security Council vote by reaching out to Trump’s transition team. Netanyahu faces his own problems at home, including multiple corruption allegations. On Saturday night, tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Tel Aviv for the “March of Shame,” which called on Netanyahu to resign and to be imprisoned.
The Newsweek report noted:
The foundation donated at least $38,000 between 2011 and 2013 to a fundraising group building a Jewish seminary in a West Bank settlement known as Beit El. During that period, Kushner’s foundation also donated an additional $20,000 to Jewish and educational institutions in settlements throughout the region, the Associated Press reported. Had Kushner included the role in his financial records, his involvement in such donations—and the following conflicts of interest that could possibly arise in his government position—may have been considered by the Office of Government Ethics.
A story in Haaretz in early December 2016 revealed that Kushner’s parents have donated “tens of thousands of dollars” to organizations located in West Bank settlements.
The report stated:
On average, the family donates a few million dollars a year to charitable causes through the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation, tax forms for the years 2010 through 2014 show. The average donation is typically in the range of $5,000 to $10,000. Jared Kushner – as well as his brother and two sisters – sits on the board of his parents’ family foundation, which was created in 1997.
One of the leading beneficiaries of those donations was American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva, whose president was David Friedman, Trump’s real estate lawyer for 15 years before being named the U.S. ambassador to Israel earlier this year. Friedman is on the far right of Israeli politics and was a close adviser to Trump’s campaign.
Commenting for the Newsweek report, American Bridge’s research director, Pat Dennis, said, “Every successive failure to disclose his financial holdings makes it harder and harder to believe Jared Kushner isn’t trying to intentionally deceive the American people. … At the very least, his security clearance needs to be revoked immediately. He has no business accessing sensitive national security information.”