Unlike previous presidents and aides, neither Donald Trump nor his daughter and his son-in-law have divested themselves of business interests even while holding meetings and negotiating with figures around the world who could impact their private incomes.
According to their latest financial disclosure filings, Ivanka Trump earned $3.9 million from her stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington. Yet the RNC and other Republican committees and candidates have spent nearly $2 million of their donors’ money at hotels and resorts that enrich the Trumps personally.
A spokesman for Abbe Lowell, the couple’s ethics counsel, sent a statement to the Post saying that they had conformed with all ethics regulations and that their “net worth remains largely the same” as the previous year.
Critics, however, raised concerns that the couple’s — and Donald Trump’s — businesses have appeared to benefit directly from their activity as public officials.
China approved several of Ivanka Trump’s trademarks last month at the same time her father was agreeing to drop sanctions against Chinese telecom company ZTE. Days before Trump’s decision, the Chinese government agreed to invest half a billion dollars in an Indonesia theme park resort linked to the Trump Organization through a licensing deal.
A major Israeli insurer loaned Kushner Cos. $30 million just days before Jared Kushner visited Israel to work on a peace plan.
Early last year, his father, Charles Kushner, pressed a Qatari official for a $500 million loan from a government-controlled investment fund. Weeks after Charles Kusher’s request was denied, Jared Kushner backed a blockade of the nation enacted by Saudi Arabia.
While Jared Kushner has stepped down from managing the family business, he retains about 90 percent of his investments in the real estate operations, according to a Washington Post analysis.
Earlier this month, Charles Kushner blasted ethic officials, calling them “jerks” who can’t get a “real job.” He also talked about the “sacrifices” his son and daughter-in-law had made.
In 2013, the Trump Organization signed a 60-year-lease with the federal government for the building that now houses the Trump International Hotel. The president’s interest in the hotel — which his daughter also profits from — is currently being challenged in court as unconstitutional.
The District of Columbia and Maryland are arguing that anti-corruption clauses of the Constitution bar hotel payments from foreign officials and governments to a federal officeholder. Questions by judge Peter Messitte of the United States District Court in Maryland indicate that he may rule in favor of the plaintiffs, The New York Times reported.