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Key Democrats ask State, Defense for records on Kushner family business


Two Democratic congressional committee chairs have co-authored letters to the State and Defense departments on Tuesday asking for an array of records on Jared Kushner’s family business, raising concerns about his financial interests as he influenced the Trump administration’s foreign policy in the Persian Gulf.

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (Ore.) in asking for the records cited previously undisclosed emails that largely relate to a 2018 bailout of a Kushner-owned office building. The request comes as part of the committees’ investigation into whether the former White House senior adviser’s financial conflicts of interest improperly influenced U.S. policy.

The letters, which were first reported by The Washington Post, detail how Canadian investment firm Brookfield Asset Management cut a previously known deal to pay a 99-year lease up front on the Kushner family’s 39-story office building in midtown Manhattan, worth about $1.1 billion, helping the Kushners avoid defaulting on impending loan payments.

Maloney and Wyden stressed that the fund that paid for the bailout included the Qatar sovereign wealth fund as its second-largest investor.

“Given the substantial personal financial benefit Brookfield conferred on Mr. Kushner and his family, we are deeply concerned by Mr. Kushner’s personal involvement in a range of policy-making processes in which he appears to have exercised his influence as a senior U.S. government official on matters directly affecting Brookfield and its investors,” Maloney and Wyden wrote.

“We have been fully transparent and responded to all requests,” Brookfield said in a statement. “As we have said all along, the decision to acquire this building was based purely on its own merits—it was an iconic, underperforming building in a prime location in need of significant redevelopment. The building has now been transformed, and we believe it will exceed our expectations in delivering value for our clients.”

The Hill has reached out to Kushner’s company for comment.

Kushner, who is married to former President Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, was heavily involved in the administration’s Middle East policy. 

Maloney and Wyden in part raised concerns about Kushner’s reported involvement in the administration’s position on an economic blockade of Qatar imposed by a Saudi-led coalition in 2017, which alleged Qatari support for terrorism and came one month after the former president visited Saudi Arabia.

The two Democrats claimed the blockade may have been used as leverage for the Manhattan building’s bailout, noting that the secretaries of State and Defense at the time did not support the blockade.

Kushner in his memoir claimed he was not to blame for the Saudis’ actions and attempted to lift the blockade, The Washington Post reported.

The letters also take aim at Kushner’s involvement in negotiating the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement given Brookfield’s large asset portfolio in North America as well as the investment firm’s efforts seeking approval to acquire a U.S. nuclear reactor company during the lease negotiations.

Maloney and Wyden also raised concerns about Kushner seeking investment from the United Arab Emirates for his new firm shortly after leaving the White House. 

Trump on his last day as president announced he would exempt the country from tariffs on most aluminum imports, although President Biden later reversed the decision.

Updated at 12:29 p.m.

Source: The Hill

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