Trump White House Still An Unaccountable Ethics Nightmare


  1. Jared Kushner failed to disclose his investment in a tech startup — in which he is a business partner with Goldman Sachs — and at least $1 billion in loans.


Wall Street Journal: “Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, didn’t identify on his government financial disclosure form that he is currently a part-owner of a real-estate finance startup and has a number of loans from banks on properties he co-owns, according to securities filings. Mr. Kushner’s stake in Cadre—a tech startup that pairs investors with big real-estate projects—means the senior White House official is currently a business partner of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and billionaires including George Soros and Peter Thiel, according to people close to the company.”


Wall Street Journal: “The Cadre stake is one of many interests—and ties to large financial institutions—that Mr. Kushner didn’t identify on his disclosure form, according to a Wall Street Journal review of securities and other filings. Others include loans totaling at least $1 billion, from more than 20 lenders, to properties and companies part-owned by Mr. Kushner, the Journal found. He has also provided personal guarantees on more than $300 million of the debt, according to the analysis.”


2.    Carl Icahn — who ethics experts are now calling on to be classified as a “special government employee” — used his influence to push a regulatory change that boosted his shares in an ethanol refinery by more than $500 million.


Norm Eisen and Fred Wertheimer: “Icahn's actual behavior in his role as special adviser suggests he may very well be a Special Government Employee, or ‘SGE.’ If so, he should follow conflicts and disclosure laws governing the behavior of such employees.”


Bloomberg: “When news of the deal [to implement Icahn’s desired change to renewable energy rules] broke, corn and gasoline prices went haywire, while shares of CVR Energy Inc., Icahn’s refinery company, surged…since Trump’s election, CVR has climbed more than 58 percent, boosting the value of Icahn’s majority stake by more than $500 million.”


Carl Icahn: “And yeah, it helps me. I’m not apologizing for that.”


3.    The Office of Government Ethics has demanded access to secret ethics waivers the Trump White House issued some officials exempting them from ethics rules.


ABC News: “The Office of Government Ethics has sent a letter to the White House and all executive branch agency heads asking for copies of any waivers that the Trump administration may have granted to appointees exempting them from ethics rules. … The New York Times reported in mid-April that in at least two instances, the Trump administration ‘secretly issued’ waivers exempting officials from ethics rules.”


4.    Office of Government Ethics noted they pushed Trump administration to put Ivanka Trump in an official position, but the White House still has not produced Ivanka’s ethics disclosure documents


ABC News: “The Office of Government Ethics encouraged the White House to hire Ivanka Trump as a government employee amid concerns that as an informal adviser she would not be bound by the standards that accompany an official position, according to a new documents provided to ABC News.”


ABC News: “ABC News’ Requests For Ivanka Trump's Disclosure Documents, Which Would Have Originally Become Due April 30, Have Not Yet Been Fulfilled.”