Kushner's Israel Business Ties Raise Concern

Firm invested $30M before his Mideast trip
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2018 2:23 AM CST
Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner listen to President Trump at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Israel, Tuesday, May 23, 2017.   (Debbie Hill, Pool via AP)
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(Newser) – Jared Kushner's family real estate firm has continued to extend its business ties to Israel despite his role leading the administration's peace efforts in the Middle East, raising concerns that he may be breaking the spirit—though not the letter—of conflict-of-interest laws. The New York Times reports that shortly before President Trump's son-in-law departed on a diplomatic trip to Israel last year, Kushner Companies received a $30 million investment from Israeli insurer Menora Mivtachim; that investment went to Maryland apartment complexes that Kushner still has a stake in despite stepping down from the company after accepting a White House job last year. The company has also taken out large loans from Israeli banks.

With Kushner playing such a big role in the peace process, "I think it's reasonable for people to ask whether his business interests are somehow affecting his judgment," government ethics expert Matthew Sanderson, a lawyer who advised Rand Paul's campaign, tells the Times. Kushner's lawyers and White House officials, however, stress that he is in full compliance with ethics rules. We have "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," White House spokesman Raj Shah tells the Jerusalem Post.

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