President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law raked in at least $82 million dollars in outside income while serving as senior advisers during 2017, according to the latest financial disclosure forms released Monday.
Among the highlights of Ivanka Trump’s financial disclosures are the more than $2 million she earned in severance from the Trump Organization, and $3.9 million from her stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington. This property has been a regular source of conflicts of interest for the Trump family and is currently the focus of lawsuits against the president. Ethics watchdogs have made the case that by turning the office of the presidency into a personal profit center as diplomats spend money at the hotel in order to curry favor with the administration.
While Kushner and Trump divested some of their holdings, they still maintain significant stakes in their businesses. For Kushner, that means thousands of apartment units in New Jersey and Maryland. According to the Washington Post, Kushner has retained about 90 percent of his real estate holdings. Trump, meanwhile, has an clothing and accessories line bearing her name. The brand is produced exclusively in overseas factories in countries including Bangladesh, Indonesia, and China.
According to their advisers, Trump and Kushner are playing by the rules.
Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Kushner and Trump’s ethics counsel, told CBS News: “Since joining the administration, Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump have complied with the rules and restrictions as set out by the Office of Government Ethics. As to the current filing which OGE also reviews, their net worth remains largely the same, with changes reflecting more the way the form requires disclosure than any substantial difference in assets or liabilities.”
It is difficult, however, to avoid the double-standard to which these two senior advisers and family members are subjected. Kushner and Trump have made several million dollars in outside income while members of the U.S. House of Representatives and their senior staff aren’t permitted to earn more than $28,000 in outside income.
The financial disclosure forms return attention to the central issue of conflicts of interest within the White House and who is profiting off of Trump’s presidency.
On Monday a federal judge in Maryland suggested that President Trump’s financial interest in the Trump International Hotel in Washington may not be constitutional, a sign that the judge may rule against the president. Attorneys general for the District of Columbia and Maryland say that by allowing foreign officials to patronize Trump’s hotel mere blocks from the White House, the president is violating the emoluments clause, which bans payments from foreign governments to federal officeholders without approval from Congress.