Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jared Kusher and wife Ivanka Trump were served with a lawsuit this week after a Washington lawyer alleged that their failure to disclose certain investments violated the guidelines stated by the Ethics in Government Act (EIGA).
The suit, filed by Jeffrey Lovitky, who also filed a suit against President Donald Trump earlier this year, focuses on investments that Kushner made in two firms: Claremount V. Associates LP and Thrive Partners IV GP, LLC. He alleged that White House Counsel in the Office of Government Ethics, which is under the supervision of the president, certified Kushner's financial disclosure as being in accordance with the EIGA with the knowledge that it lacked certain necessary investment information.
The EIGA guidelines state that any source of income aside from salary that exceeds $200 in a calendar year must be reported, and that an investment for the production of income in a trade or business exceeding $1000 must be reported.
Kushner submitted a financial disclosure report in March 2017, which he has amended several times. Lovikty's suit claims that Kushner failed to disclose investments in the above mentioned firms, for which his returns would be plausibly greater than $1000.
The EIGA does not allow the refusal of disclosing of financial investment information under the guise of a pre-existing confidentiality agreement, but Lovitky's complaint surmises that the information to be disclosed may not be treated as confidential in this suit.
"The EIGA permits a reporting individual on whose behalf payments are made to charitable organizations to report the recipients of such contributions on a confidential basis,'' the complaint states.
"Based upon a search of public records, neither Kushner nor Trump are practicing attorneys, and as such cannot assert attorney-client privilege as a basis for withholding information.''
Ms. Trump is included in the lawsuit not because she herself has invested in the firms, but because she failed to report her husband's investments in them. Trump's financial disclosure report, submitted in June 2017, fails to disclose any of the relevant information and, similar to her husband, she has also amended the report several times, including as recently as October 17.
A White House spokesperson dismissed the suit.
"This suit is frivolous," the spokesperson said. "Mr. Kushner’s 278e was closely reviewed by the nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics, which certified his compliance with federal law."
"Mr. Kushner and his representatives also maintain ongoing communications with the Office of Government Ethics to ensure his disclosures remain in compliance," the spokesperson continued. "Ms. Trump’s 278e parallels Mr. Kushner’s in all relevant respects."
Lovitky's suit against President Trump also alleges that the financial disclosure agreement that he submitted in 2016 failed to accurately delineate Trump's financial liabilities for various debts listed in the disclosure. The Justice Department has moved to dismiss the suit, but the presiding judge has yet to issue a motion. Michael Wilner contributed to this report.
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