Jared Kushner’s considerable payments from Saudi Arabia, despite seeming to do little for them, have raised eyebrows, with one critic decrying the situation as “money for nothing.”
Kushner, the son-in-law of former President Donald Trump and husband of his oldest daughter Ivanka, currently works at Affinity Partners, the investment firm he founded after leaving the White House in 2021. Kushner previously served as a senior White House adviser during the Trump administration, working closely on the administration’s Middle East policy. As part of his work at the firm, he has secured roughly $2 billion in funding from the government in Saudi Arabia and received the unprecedented go-ahead to invest the money in businesses and opportunities in Israel.
Despite receiving the funding some years ago, the Wall Street Journal on Friday reported that Kushner is only now on the cusp of making his first investment on behalf of Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, the report added that Kushner has collected “tens of millions in management fees each year” while not making any investments.
Kushner defended this arrangement, telling the outlet that this was due to the fact that Affinity Partners opened amid a turbulent time for investment, further crediting his firm for its patience.
“Deployment has been slower than expected because we maintained high standards,” Kushner said. “In retrospect, I’m glad we didn’t follow the herd.”
Others, like Norm Eisen, a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, suggested that the payments were, in fact, meant to curry favor with Kushner as part of a plan to seed connections with Trump’s family, should the former president retake the White House in the 2024 election.
“It appears to be money for nothing,” Eisen told the Wall Street Journal. “In the absence of material transactions, this goes beyond a raised eyebrow to profound concerns about possible impropriety and quid pro quo.”
aking to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, journalist Judd Legum on Friday summarized the situation as Kushner “pocketing the cash” while not conducting any investments.
Representative Robert Garcia, a California Democrat, contrasted Kushner’s situation with that of Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, whom Republicans have targeted with allegations of inappropriate business dealings.
“Reminder that Jared Kushner is taking Saudi money, without doing the work he was hired to do,” Garcia wrote in his X post. “Unlike Hunter, the Trump crime family was in the government, shaping policy. Since the House GOP is so concerned about presidential relatives, when will they call hearings? I’ll wait.”
Kushner’s dealings at Affinity Partners have also started to draw criticism from the GOP. Earlier in August, Representative James Comer, head of the House Oversight Committee and a Kentucky Republican, told CNN in an interview that he believes Kushner “crossed the line of ethics,” but stressed that his actions took place after his father-in-law left office.