Jared Kushner is ostensibly tasked with bringing peace to the Middle East and maybe he intends to accomplish that by selling it to the highest bidder. Kushner is a co-founder and part owner in Cadre, a real estate technology startup which is negotiating for an investment of at least $100Million from a private fund that receives capital from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Conflict, anybody? Bloomberg:
Cadre is so closely identified with Jared and Josh Kushner that any financial involvement by sovereign wealth funds is problematic, some government watchdog groups say. The nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed an ethics complaint against Jared Kushner last year for failing to report his interest in Cadre on his original financial disclosure form. (Kushner’s lawyer said the omission was inadvertent, and disclosure statements have since been revised to include it.)
“This kind of an arrangement, where a high-ranking U.S. government official can personally profit from a foreign government, is exactly why we filed the ethics complaint and it is exactly what the emoluments clause of the constitution was written to prevent,” said Virginia Canter, a lawyer at CREW. “If a foreign government wants to try to buy favors and influence U.S. policy, this is the way to do it.”
Kushner’s dealings with the United Arab Emirates have also attracted the scrutiny of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia’s influence in the U.S. presidential election and related matters. His office’s investigators have reportedly asked witnesses about a meeting in New York in early 2017 that included Kushner and George Nader, an adviser to the United Arab Emirates government who is now said to be a cooperating witness in the inquiry.
Kushner’s attorneys are spinning it out that this is just passive income and Kushner has no hands on capacity in this deal. However, Kushner has been visibly friendly with the Saudis, claiming that he helped the Kingdom save $10Billion on an arms purchase from a U.S. military contractor, and he made an unannounced trip to Riyadh last fall, where he met with Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman, to discuss, among other things, peace in the Middle East. So go figure.