I worked with Repub­li­cans to hound Obama. I wish they would give Jared Kush­ner the same treat­ment

Imag­ine if a rel­a­tive of Obama had been work­ing in the West Wing while so­lic­it­ing for­eign dol­lars for the fam­ily busi­ness.

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION - By Kurt Bardella Kurt Bardella is a po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor and a former spokesper­son and se­nior ad­vi­sor for the House Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Re­form Com­mit­tee un­der Chair­man Dar­rell Issa (R-Vista).

For years, I worked with con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans on the House Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Re­form Com­mit­tee to vig­or­ously po­lice Barack Obama’s pres­i­dency.

We at­tacked the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion with speed and en­thu­si­asm. No cor­ner of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment was safe from our scru­tiny. Any ap­pear­ance of im­pro­pri­ety was thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gated.

We told the Amer­i­can peo­ple and our­selves that tax­pay­ers had a fun­da­men­tal right to know what was go­ing on with their money in­side their gov­ern­ment. Like a mantra, we spoke out about the need to hold the ex­ec­u­tive branch ac­count­able and pro­vide a check-and-bal­ance to the pres­i­dent’s power.

Flash for­ward to 2017: Un­der the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion and an even larger con­gres­sional ma­jor­ity, over­sight Repub­li­cans are com­pletely MIA.

What hap­pened to their bravado and self-right­eous­ness? What hap­pened to hold­ing the pres­i­dent to the high­est pos­si­ble stan­dard of eth­i­cal scru­tiny?

A new re­port from Bloomberg re­veals how Pres­i­dent Trump’s son-in-law and se­nior White House ad­vi­sor, Jared Kush­ner, is on a des­per­ate “hunt for cash” to ad­dress “hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars” his fam­ily’s real es­tate busi­ness owes on a “41-story of­fice build­ing on Fifth Av­enue.”

The mort­gage on the build­ing is due in just 18 months. And Kush­ner’s “hunt for cash” ap­pears to be an in­ter­na­tional one, shak­ing the money trees in South Korea, France, Is­rael, China, Saudi Ara­bia and Qatar.

At the same time, Kush­ner, as re­ported by the Washington Post, has been play­ing the role of “shadow diplo­mat,” be­com­ing the “pri­mary point of con­tact for pres­i­dents, min­is­ters, am­bas­sadors from more than two dozen coun­tries … in Europe, the Mid­dle East and the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion.”

In June, when Kush­ner, who has zero diplo­matic and for­eign pol­icy ex­pe­ri­ence, trav­eled to the Mid­dle East to pur­sue a peace deal be­tween the Is­raelis and the Pales­tini­ans, it is con­ceiv­able that he was si­mul­ta­ne­ously fur­ther­ing his “hunt for cash.”

Re­mem­ber when can­di­date Trump ac­cused Hil­lary Clin­ton of run­ning a “vast crim­i­nal en­ter­prise” out of the State De­part­ment?

Well, Mr. Pres­i­dent, what in the world would you call what your daugh­ter’s hus­band is do­ing right now from in­side the West Wing?

At best, it’s a con­flict of in­ter­est. At worst, it’s an in­vi­ta­tion for bribery.

Ei­ther way, it is be­yond in­ap­pro­pri­ate for Kush­ner to con­tinue work­ing in­side the West Wing and on the fed­eral gov­ern­ment pay­roll. He may be us­ing his po­si­tion and prox­im­ity to the pres­i­dent to gain ac­cess to high-pro­file, in­ter­na­tional money men in the hopes that they’ll cut him and his fam­ily a hun­dred-mil­lion-dol­lar check.

What strings do you think that check would come with and does any­body re­ally be­lieve those strings align with the best in­ter­ests of the United States of Amer­ica?

Keep in mind, Kush­ner still has a se­cu­rity clear­ance!

And when Rep. Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz (D-Fla.) led an ef­fort in July to re­voke that clear­ance, con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans un­con­scionably blocked it be­cause they would rather play pol­i­tics than act in the best in­ter­ests of the coun­try they are sworn to pro­tect. They ap­par­ently think it’s fine to leave our coun­try vul­ner­a­ble to some­one who is a prime tar­get for black­mail and fi­nan­cial ex­tor­tion.

Re­mem­ber, too, that con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans were foam­ing at the mouth at the prospect of in­ves­ti­gat­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton and the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion had she won the pres­i­dency. Some of their ac­tiv­i­ties cer­tainly war­ranted scru­tiny — but no more so than what Kush­ner’s up to.

So much for the de­vo­tion to vig­or­ous over­sight that we cham­pi­oned and re­gur­gi­tated for the eight years un­der Pres­i­dent Obama.

I can tell you with 100% cer­tainty that if a rel­a­tive of Obama had been work­ing in the West Wing while also so­lic­it­ing for­eign dol­lars for the fam­ily busi­ness, we would have launched a full-scale in­ves­ti­ga­tion that would have in­cluded de­po­si­tions, sub­poe­nas and con­gres­sional hear­ings.

Maybe the con­gres­sional over­sight com­mit­tees will fi­nally start do­ing their jobs and in­ves­ti­gate the “vast crim­i­nal en­ter­prise” be­ing op­er­ated out of the West Wing. More likely, noth­ing will hap­pen and Trump, with the si­lent ac­qui­es­cence of Repub­li­cans in Congress, will help in­sti­tu­tion­al­ize this cor­rup­tion.

WIN MCNAMEE Getty Images

JARED KUSH­NER is on a “hunt for cash” to pay the mort­gage on his Man­hat­tan build­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.