House Panel Examining Jared Kushner Over Saudi Investment in New Firm

A House committee said on Thursday that it was investigating whether Jared Kushner, former President Donald J. Trump’s son-in-law and former adviser, traded on his government position to land a $2 billion investment in his new private equity firm from a prominent Saudi Arabian wealth fund.

Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, the New York Democrat who leads the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, gave Mr. Kushner a two-week deadline in a letter sent on Thursday to furnish documents related to the Saudi fund’s investment last year in his firm, Affinity Partners. She also asked for any personal correspondence between Mr. Kushner and the Saudi kingdom’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, during or after the Trump administration.

The committee, Ms. Maloney wrote in the eight-page letter, is investigating “whether your personal financial interests improperly influenced U.S. foreign policy during the administration of your father-in-law, former President Trump.”

In a statement, a spokesman for Mr. Kushner said, “While achieving six peace deals in the Middle East, Mr. Kushner fully abided by all legal and ethical guidelines both during and after his government service.”

“He is proud to be among many private sector stakeholders advancing connectivity between Americans, Israelis and Arabs to encourage continued regional progress,” the statement continued.

A spokesman for the Saudi government and the Saudi Public Investment Fund, the entity that made the $2 billion investment, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Thanks to congressional redistricting, Ms. Maloney, a veteran lawmaker from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, faces a tough primary fight against Representative Jerrold Nadler, her longtime colleague and fellow Democrat from the Upper West Side. Mr. Nadler, who is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, played a prominent role in Mr. Trump’s two impeachment hearings and has campaigned on his role as a critic of the Trump administration.

Ms. Maloney’s letter refers to disclosures, first published by The New York Times in early April, that the Saudi government’s main sovereign wealth fund invested $2 billion in Mr. Kushner’s firm despite objections from one of its own internal committees over his lack of relevant investment experience. That investment occurred less than six months after Mr. Kushner left his post in the White House — a role that had given him broad oversight of the administration’s diplomacy efforts in the Middle East.

During his time in government, Mr. Kushner developed a close rapport with Prince Mohammed, even as the prince faced criticism over his human rights record and Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. Later, when the planned $2 billion investment in Mr. Kushner’s private equity firm encountered skepticism from Public Investment Fund officials, a fund board led by Prince Mohammed voted to approve it anyway.

Ethics experts have raised concerns about the Saudi fund’s investment in Mr. Kushner’s firm, which according to filings appears to account for the vast majority of its $2.5 billion in assets. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, has urged the Justice Department to “take a really hard look” at whether Mr. Kushner violated any criminal laws.

In her letter, dated Tuesday, Ms. Maloney noted that the parent company of Affinity was incorporated on Jan. 21, 2021 — the day after Mr. Kushner left the White House. “Your close relationship with Crown Prince bin Salman, your pro-Saudi positions during the Trump administration, and PIF’s decision to fund the lion’s share of your new business venture — only six months after the end of your White House tenure,” she wrote, “create the appearance of a quid pro quo for your foreign policy work.”

Rather than alleging the violation of any existing law, Ms. Maloney wrote that the investigation would seek to gather information about whether stricter laws are needed to restrain former public officials from doing business with their past government counterparts.

The House Oversight Committee has examined both the Trump administration and its relationship with Saudi Arabia in the past. In 2019, it investigated the White House’s granting of a security clearance to Mr. Kushner despite red flags raised by intelligence officials, and issued reports on the administration’s willingness to share nuclear-power technology with the kingdom.

Back to top button