February 17, 2023
On Tuesday, February 14, a senior Democrat renewed a request to Jared Kushner for documents outlining how the former White House official received $2 billion from a Saudi investment fund, writing that Kushner had failed to respond to an earlier inquiry and raising new questions about whether he had “improperly traded” on his government work to benefit his financial interests, reports The Washington Post.
The letter, from Representative Jamie B. Raskin (Maryland), the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, cited a story published in the Post’s online edition on Saturday, February 11, and other reports that he said raised disturbing questions about Kushner’s relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Mohammed chairs a sovereign wealth fund that invested in Kushner’s private equity fund, known as Affinity Partners, soon after Kushner left a White House position that dealt regularly with Saudi affairs.
“I am deeply troubled by your continued refusal to produce documents regarding the Saudi government’s $2 billion investment in your fund in light of recent prominent reporting that Saudi Arabia made that investment in Affinity just months after you left a senior White House position where you were responsible for shaping Middle East policy,” Raskin wrote to Kushner.
Raskin’s letter followed up on a request in June from the committee, which at the time was controlled by Democrats, for the documents. It also requested that Kushner identify all foreign investors in his company.
While Kushner’s company turned over nearly 2,000 pages in response, Raskin revealed in Tuesday’s letter that they mostly amounted to publicly available documents that do “not substantively relate to the Saudi government’s investment in the firm.” Raskin wrote that when the committee followed up in October, the company’s legal officer did not respond.
With Republicans now in control of the House, Raskin this week asked the committee’s chairman, Representative James Comer (Kentucky), to co-sign the letter. Comer, asked Sunday on ABC News’ This Week whether he would push for an investigation into Kushner just as he is probing actions by President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, had responded that “everything is on the table.”
“Ranking Member Raskin and Committee Democrats have a long way to go to prove they are interested in true oversight after having spent the past two years giving the Biden Administration a free pass,” Comer said. “If Democrats want to join Committee Republicans in our ongoing efforts, including investigating Joe Biden’s involvement in his family’s suspicious business schemes with foreign adversaries, then we can discuss joining together on future requests. Until then, Committee Republicans will continue seeking answers for the American people about the current administration’s activities.”
Raskin’s request is expected to be picked up by a concurrent investigation by the Senate Finance Committee and its chairman, Senator Ron Wyden (R-Oregon). “The financial links between the Saudi royal family and the Trump family raise very serious issues, and when you factor in Jared Kushner’s financial interests, you are looking right at the cat’s cradle of financial entanglements,” Wyden told the Post last week.
Raskin said in an interview on Tuesday that, while he still hoped Comer would cooperate, “We will definitely work with our partners in the Senate to get all of the information we need in order to conduct a thorough and detailed investigation of all of the conflicts of interests that we need to learn about.”
Raskin said he was “not going to allow this to be some kind of lopsided partisan witch hunt. Let’s have a serious investigation into public policy and the profound ethical concerns that have been raised.”
As President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, Kushner worked closely with Mohammed, who became crown prince, in part, by leveraging his ties to the Trump Administration, which provided arms sales and other benefits.
Trump also provided crucial support by refusing to endorse a CIA finding that Mohammed had ordered the killing or capture of Jamal Khashoggi, a Post contributing columnist who had been critical of the crown prince’s policies. Trump has said that he “saved” Mohammed, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote in his recent memoir that he was told by Trump to visit with the crown prince and “tell him he owes us.”
The Saudi Public Investment Fund has also financed LIV Golf, which is holding tournaments on Trump’s golf courses. It is unclear how much Trump earns from that arrangement. A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In his letter to Kushner, Raskin wrote, “Your efforts to protect the Crown Prince may have allowed him to maintain his position at the top of the Saudi government and, thus, his ability to deliver significant financial benefits to you and your father-in-law after the end of the Trump Administration.”
Raskin noted that when the committee contacted Kushner’s company in June, it responded that it had “nothing to hide” and was “committed to working with the Committee to provide appropriate details, documents, and information to help inform your investigation.”
While Affinity eventually provided some documents, Raskin wrote, it “failed to produce a single communication related to the reasons behind your firm’s receipt of $2 billion from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.”
The congressman asked for the documents to be provided by March 1.
Research contact: @washingtonpost