David Apol, the acting director of the Office of Government Ethics, has responded to a letter from Democratic lawmaker Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois. The Congressman sent the letter March 1st, and in it, he requested information as to whether the OGE was investigating a pair of loans totaling more than $500 million that went to Jared Kushner’s real estate company, Kushner Cos.
At issue was the fact that Kushner met with representatives from Apollo Global Management and from Citigroup in an official White House capacity shortly before his company secured loans for $184 million from Apollo and $325 million from Citigroup. The “coincidence” of the use of his authority as a White House employee and the financial institutions granting the loans so quickly after meeting with him was too much for Krishnamoorthi to dismiss, and he inquired as to any ethical impropriety that may have arisen — or that is likely to arise — from what appears to be use of public office for private gain.
In the OGE response, Apol told Krishnamoorthi that during the course of discussing the situation with White House counsel, Trump’s lawyers told him that they had “begun the process of ascertaining the facts necessary to determine whether any law or regulation has been violated.”
Whether White House counsel will appropriately pursue any findings that arise from their internal investigation remains to be seen.
But the look into the matter comes alongside a similar investigation being carried out by the Brooklyn U.S. attorney’s office and the Securities and Exchange Commission over Kushner Cos’ use of a federal investment-for-visa program.
The letter from the Office of Government Ethics can be read in its entirety here, but specifies exactly what Krishnamoorthi suspected was the case:
[T]he primary financial conflict of interest statute prohibits executive branch employees from participating personally and substantially in particular matters directly and predictably their financial interests.”
In other words, it’s illegal to use your office to get loans for your company.
Start packing, Jared.
Featured image via Opposition Report Gallery