Email #128: “a direct effect on a financial interest”?

As you know, the President has made his son-in-law a senior advisor and head of his new White House Office of American Innovation, a job that entails working with a wide range of corporate executives. Kushner, however, currently has investments worth $740 million in an equally wide-ranging number of companies and properties. Although Kushner released his financial disclosure report at the end of March, the 54-page document does not include such basic information as his buildings’ addresses, the names of his business partners, and the institutions providing his financing. Kushner did officially resign from multiple executive positions, but he still continues to make money from those companies.

Kushner should have liquidated his assets.  Secretary of State Tillerson, a former Exxon Mobil CEO, agreed to liquidate all of his Exxon Mobil stock and invest all of his assets into Treasury bonds and diversified mutual funds. But Kushner’s financial disclosures are filled with dozens of conflicts of interests. For example, he still has multimillion dollar loans from Deutsche Bank in Germany (which the Justice Department forced to pay $7.2 billion for selling toxic mortgages last year) and Bank Hapoalim in Israel (which the Justice Department is currently investigating for helping wealthy Americans commit tax evasion).

You have previously cited the fact that the President is exempt from conflict of interest laws as an excuse for not investigating his assets. But the President’s son-in-law is not exempt. As with any federal employee, it is illegal for him to be involved in any “matter that will have a direct effect on a financial interest.” And yet his job description requires his involvement in exactly those kinds of matters. For example, the President wants to make major changes in tax laws that will financially benefit himself and his son-in-law enormously.

Is the American public to believe that the President and his son-in-law are having no conversations regarding tax laws? How can a senior advisor recuse himself and remain a senior advisor?

It is your responsibility as chair of the House Judiciary Committee to oversee the executive branch. Given Mr. Kushner’s refusal to liquidate his assets and disclose adequate information regarding them and the conflicts of interest endemic to his job, what steps are you taking to make sure he is not violating the law?

Or are you only concerned with overseeing the executive branch when Democrats are running it?

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

One thought on “Email #128: “a direct effect on a financial interest”?”

  1. I wish you would send this letter to all the local newspapers. This information needs a wider audience. Thank you for all you are doing. Please run for office.


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