Two Democrat-led congressional committees want to know whether Jared Kushner’s actions as a Middle East policy adviser in the Trump White House was influenced by the bailout of a financially troubled building his family owned in Manhattan.
The Senate Finance and House Oversight committees sent letters this week to the State and Defense departments asking for documents that would illuminate whether “Kushner’s financial conflict of interest may have led him to improperly influence US tax, trade and national security policies for his own financial gain.”
The Washington Post first reported on the panels’ requests Wednesday.
At the center of the probe sits 666 Fifth Avenue, a 41-story building owned by Jared Kushner, 76-year-old former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and his father, Charles.
In 2018, the Kushners made a deal in which Canadian investment firm Brookfield Asset Management invested $1.2 billion for a 99-year lease on the property that allowed the family to avoid defaulting on a loan coming due the next year.
Democrats were suspicious of the agreement because the Qatar Investment Authority has a stake in a unit of Brookfield.
The Qatari firm invested $1.8 billion in Brookfield Property Partners, the fund used in the transaction, becoming the second-largest investor other than Brookfield itself.
The Canadian firm said during negotiations that “no Qatar-linked entity has any involvement in or even knowledge of this potential transaction.”
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) in the letters are requesting information about correspondence between the Kushner family, Brookfield, the Qatari fund, and other matters.
“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 US government official on matters directly affecting Brookfield and its investors,” Maloney and Wyden wrote.
The two Democrats are interested in the role Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, played in Saudi Arabia’s decision to end a blockade against Qatar in 2018, as Charles Kushner was engaged in talks with Brookfield.
The letter pointed out that the Kushner Company had approached Qatar several times about investing in the property, including in the spring of 2017, but had been rebuffed.
Two months later, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates instituted their blockade, and Qatar launched a “charm offensive” to get the Trump administration to intervene.
At around the same time, Brookfield showed renewed interest in 666 Fifth Avenue and Charles Kushner met with a top executive from the company in February 2018 to discuss the property.
In April of that year, the Trump administration pulled their support for the blockade and the former president welcomed the emir of Qatar to the White House.
Kushner led the White House’s efforts to end the blockade in late 2020, touting his relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Riyadh ultimately lifted the blockade in January 2021.
An investment firm Kushner created after leaving the White House that January received a $2 billion investment from a Saudi fund controlled by the crown prince months later.