Jaren Kushner, Senior Advisor and son-in-law to President Trump, was just given a fine by the Office of Government Ethics for late reporting of a financial transaction, according to a newly released document. But he is not alone, another 17 of the White House staff, including top aides to the president, also filed their financial disclosure statements late. This is accordion to data compiled by American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic opposition research group.
Reince Priebus, the former chief of staff, was four days late. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was 23 days late. And Omarosa Manigault, director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison, received a 32-day extension but was still eight days late.
Government watchdog groups are using these stats that show tardiness within the Trump administration as proof that they haven’t made ethics a priority even though they promised to “drain the swamp.”
“These people coming into public service should have the attitude of bending over backwards to ensure…that the public interest is first and foremost in their mind,” said Meredith McGehee, chief of policy, programs, and strategy at Issue One.
“What I’m concerned about is that it’s a culture,” said Lawrence Noble, general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center. “They are not taking it seriously.”
“President Trump acts like the rules for the rest of us don’t apply to him, and now his entire administration is doing the same,” said Harrell Kirstein, a spokesman for the Trump War Room at American Bridge 21st Century.
A White House official who is not authorized to speak publicly said that Kushner will pay the fine. The late disclosure appears to involve JCK Cadre LLC, a real estate company. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, were beneficiaries of a series of real estate and business companies worth up to $740 million, according to documents released by the White House in March.
Kushner announced that he would resign from executive positions at more than 200 entities, divest some companies and transfer others to his mother and brother.
The White House declined to comment on other individual staffers who may be late in reporting. They did point out that a report filed as many as 75 days after an asset was sold and therefore might not be considered late, according to ethics rules, and that it would be possible to get extensions beyond that, as well.
Is this a “culture” that is not concerned with ethics, or is it “trumped up” charges that don’t carry much weight?
Credit: McClatchy DC Bureau