Jared Kushner and the Money from Israel.

by Pitt Griffin on January 8, 2018 · 0 comments

in Foreign Policy, Trump presidency

Jared Kushner’s companies received a $30 million infusion of cash from an Israeli insurance company, Menora Mivtachim. In most circumstances, this would be unremarkable. But his father-in-law is President of the United States. And not only is Kushner an advisor to Trump, but part of his extensive public portfolio is the charge to broker a peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

It’s hard to imagine that Jared wouldn’t be predisposed to see the Middle-East through Bibi’s eyes.

Kushner is an Orthodox Jew, so he already faces doubts that he can be a disinterested agent in a dispute which is grounded in religion. I think that is possible. But I do not believe Kushner can operate with fairness when money is involved.

Amazingly, the deal does not violate federal ethics rules which mandate that Kushner is good to go as long as he recuses himself from decisions that might directly affect his bottom line. But those ethics rules imagined a politician putting his hand in the federal till. They did not envision an administration so beholden to foreign money — and whose principals had such extensive dealings globally.

It is naive — foolish — to believe that, while no quid pro quo was demanded by Menora Mivtachim, there isn’t an implicit understanding that Kushner will ‘do the right thing’. Especially as in this case the desires of the Israeli government are as one with those of congressional Republicans and the administration. In other words, there is little incentive for the authorities to go poking around in Kushner’s business.

Unfortunately for Kushner, Robert Mueller is running an investigation which has already gone beyond Russian interference in the election to cover financial crimes. And real estate development is an industry up to its eyeballs in shady money.

Kushner, in particular, seems to be strapped for cash. A flagship property, 666 Fifth Ave, New York, has a $1.2 billion mortgage due in February 2019. And there is likely no American money available for refinancing. Kushner has been scouring the globe for money. And he has been selling hundreds of apartments to raise funds, as there is little equity left in his buildings as they are already collateral to numerous loans.

We have little idea how dire his companies circumstances are as federal disclosures only require broad estimates of his worth and income. Not to mention, we don’t know if he has been entirely forthright, as he keeps revising his forms. If he’s not disingenuous, then he has a terrible memory for what he owns and who he meets.

If America wants to retain its credibility internationally, it would be better to find someone whose impartiality was beyond question. But the President is not a man who cares for America’s reputation. Instead, he is like an old time crime boss whose only standard for his agents is unswerving loyalty to the boss. And where do you find that?


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