CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz
202-408-5565 | [email protected]
Washington- Jared Kushner’s sale of his shares in Cadre should be reviewed for potentially violating ethics rules by using nonpublic information about the impending economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic for his own benefit, according to a letter sent by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) today to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE).
Kushner appears to have made millions from the sale of his Cadre shares while he was in possession of nonpublic information about the pandemic, selling them at a time when government officials were internally expressing significant concerns about the severity of the dangers of the coronavirus, but the White House was publicly downplaying its seriousness.
The timing of the sale is particularly suspect, as when Kushner joined the White House in 2017, he refused to divest his interest in the online private real estate investment platform he co-founded. During his time in the White House, he resisted selling the shares as their value grew significantly, despite repeated warnings that keeping his Cadre assets presented conflicts of interest. The stock market crashed days after Kushner sold his shares, apparently sometime between February 26-28, 2020.
“Once again, the overlap between Jared Kushner’s private financial interests and his public responsibilities is raising serious ethics questions,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “In the midst of a public health crisis, it is especially important that the public can trust that government leaders are working to further the public interest, not their own bottom line.”
The questions surrounding the timing of Kushner’s sales come in light of allegations that members of his coronavirus “shadow task force” appear to have run afoul of multiple transparency and ethics laws and that he stands to profit from a tax benefit included in Congress’ coronavirus legislation.
“The public should never have to ask whether an official violated public trust and used their position for personal gain,” said Bookbinder, “but Kushner’s continued conflicts of interest and longstanding disregard for transparency and ethics laws begs the question. OGE must conduct a thorough review of the sale of his Cadre shares.”