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May 9, 2017

Kushner Family Tells Rich Chinese: Invest $500,000 and Immigrate to the United States

By EconMatters

I was debating whether to put this post on our sister site Asia Pop Culture, but decided EconMatters.com seems a more appropriate place.  

Washington Post journalists attended the last Saturday presentation at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Beijing saw and heard the pitch to the rich Chinese -- They could obtain EB-5 investor visas to the U.S. if they invested at least $500,000 into one of the Kushner family’s development projects.

The presentation was reportedly delivered by Nicole Kushner Meyer, sister of Jared Kushner. As you know, Jared Kushner is the presidential adviser and son-in-law, husband of Ivana Trump.

Now what is EB-5 visa exactly? Wikipedia explains that the EB-5 visa provides a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who can invest from $500,000 to one million dollars in a "new commercial enterprise" in the United States. The program has been criticized as akin to “U.S. citizenship for sale,” and it has come under scrutiny after a series of fraud and scandals.

According to the Post, the tagline on a brochure for the event:
“Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.”

The New York Times reported that during the presentation, there was a slide describing Donald Trump as a "key decision maker" about the future of the EB-5 program.  So the potential investors were then advised to "invest sooner rather than later in case visa rules change under the Trump administration."
“Invest early, and you will invest under the old rules,” one speaker said.
A slide displaying President Trump as the key decision maker in the EB-5 program (graphic source: New York Times)

The highlight of the event was Meyer, a principal for the company, who was described in promotional materials as Jared Kushner's sister.  Meyer told the audience of about 100 wealthy Chinese investors that the project "means a lot to me and my entire family."

The Post said it well in a nutshell:
".....the session Saturday demonstrated that the [Kushner] company is perceived as enjoying close ties to the Trump administration. Ethics laws prohibit government officials from profiting personally from their public-sector work."

Can this be any more obvious a ploy to cash in and take advantage of the Kushner family new proximity to power?

I'm not a legal and ethics expert....  But since Jared Kushner has indicated that he has divested from the family business, the loophole of the so-called Ethics Law could be that Jared's sister is not exactly a "government official"?  So if the sister's company benefits, it will not be on Jared?  I'm pretty sure the money will eventually find Jared.....

Anyway, I guess we will wait to see how the spin doctors will find a way out of this "incredibly stupid and highly inappropriate" mess as described by Richard Painter, the former chief White House ethics lawyer in President George W. Bush’s administration.  Well that is how the rich gets richer, and ........  

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