Kushner’s real estate activities raise potential conflict-of-interest issues

Federal policies could help or harm his business

The White House and Jared Kushner
The White House and Jared Kushner

The president-elect apparently isn’t subject to conflict of interest laws, but his son-in-law could be.

If Jared Kushner [TRDataCustom] secures a White House staff position, his real estate and other business activities could pose potential conflict-of-interest issues, the Wall Street Journal reported. Kushner has hundreds of millions of dollars worth in outstanding loans and counts major foreign and domestic banks among financial partners.

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Key policies, like EB-5, could potentially have a major impact on Kushner’s business. Kushner Companies, the firm he heads, used the federal program to help finance his Trump Bay Street rental tower in Jersey City. A key provision in the visa program, which allows foreigners to invest upwards of $500,000 in U.S. real estate projects in exchange for green cards, is set to expire in December. Though Trump hasn’t taken a formal position on the program, experts told The Real Deal during a panel earlier this month that EB-5 will thrive under the president-elect. Still, Congress has becoming increasingly critical of the program, and Trump will likely have to take a definitive position.

Kushner has considered placing his assets in a blind trust to avoid conflict-of-interest issues, but some legal experts say he would need to sell off the assets and then place the money in a trust.

“You can’t pretend you don’t own something just by putting it in a blind trust,” Richard Painter, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, told the Journal. [WSJ]Kathryn Brenzel