Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner received over $82 million in outside income during 2017 while working as White House advisers. The information was reported in financial disclosure forms released by the president’s daughter and son-in-law on Monday.
The filings make clear that Ivanka and Jared are collecting massive amounts of money from outside businesses at the same time they are serving in the White House as senior advisers to the president. According to ethics experts this creates equally massive amounts of conflicts of interest.
Included in Ivanka’s income was $3.9 million from her ownership interest in the Trump International Hotel which is currently the subject of several lawsuits. In these suits the plaintiffs are claiming violations of the “emoluments” clause of the U.S. Constitution which prohibits presidents from receiving financial benefits from foreign governments. The Trump International Hotel has been extensively used by foreign governments since Trump became president, leading to large financial gains for the president and his family.
Ivanka also received a $2 million payout as a severance payment when she left the employment of the Trump Organization. Kushner reported over $5 million in income from Quail Ridge, an apartment complex he acquired last year in Plainsboro, N.J..
Both Kushner and Trump own many other businesses and they claim to have given up daily oversight of these companies while working as unpaid senior advisers to the president.
But they have not divested their holdings, and they both have maintained large stakes in businesses with domestic and foreign ties. The Kushner family real estate company, for example, owns many properties around the country and also in several foreign countries that have had dealings with the Trump administration.
Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories businesses use products that are made exclusively in foreign factories. The government of China recently gave her 13 sweetheart trademark deals which allowed her to market her products in that country, with the world’s largest population.
Last year, Kushner’s assets were worth between $179 million and $735 million, while Trump’s assets were valued between about $55.3 million and $75.6 million, according to the Washington Post.
Like Ivanka’s father, the couple does not seem bothered by the complaints of ethics watchdogs concerned about self-dealing by individuals working in the U.S. government.
In an interview in May Kushner’s father also complained about ethics watchdogs, saying they were “jerks” who “can’t get a real job.”
“I look at what my kids have sacrificed to go into government, with the only intent of doing good for this country and for the world, and to help people,” Charles Kushner told Real Deal Magazine. “And what they have sacrificed, and the daily barrage of negative media, and the attacks they get, and they had a perfect, beautiful life and they still have a very good life, but they sacrificed a lot.”
With annual income of over $80 million and a net worth close to a billion dollars, it is doubtful that most Americans would agree that Ivanka and Jared had “sacrificed” very much by taking government positions. On the contrary, it seems that they have been using those government positions as vehicles for them to increase their personal wealth.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.