Senate Dems Launch Probe On Kushner

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden has launched an investigation into Jared Kushner's investment firm, Affinity Partners, raising concerns about the substantial foreign funding the firm has received.

Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, argues that the influx of Middle Eastern investments poses significant risks of foreign influence, particularly given Kushner's close ties to former President Donald Trump and the potential for a return to power in Washington.

Wyden's investigation stems from the opaque structure of payments to Affinity Partners, which he believes may circumvent the Foreign Agents Registration Act. "It is deeply concerning that several Middle Eastern governments are using funds managed by Affinity as a means to pay tens of millions of dollars in fees every year to former President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, creating significant conflicts of interest and potential counterintelligence risks," Wyden stated.

This probe comes in the wake of Hunter Biden’s conviction on federal gun charges, a case that has also sparked scrutiny of his foreign business dealings. Republicans argue that Hunter Biden’s activities overshadow larger issues related to his attempts to leverage his father's name for financial gain. This controversy is central to the House Republicans' impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, although the investigation has seen little progress.

House Republicans have defended Kushner, contrasting his business activities with those of Hunter Biden. They highlight Kushner's role in negotiating the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and several Arab states. "The idea that Jared Kushner did something wrong is ridiculous. Mr. Kushner is a legitimate businessman, unlike Hunter Biden, and did amazing work to help the United States secure the historic Abraham Accords," stated Russell Dye, a spokesman for House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan.

Wyden's concerns center on the fact that 99% of Affinity Partners' funding comes from foreign sources. This raises red flags about potential conflicts of interest, particularly as Trump considers another presidential run. Wyden emphasized that the investments may be driven more by strategic interests than by commercial ones.

"This series of events creates an appearance that Affinity’s investors are motivated not by commercial interests of seeking a return on investment, but rather by strategic considerations of foreign nationals seeking to funnel money to U.S. individuals with personal connections to former President Trump," Wyden wrote to Affinity Partners CFO Lauren Key.

A significant portion of Affinity Partners' assets, approximately $2 billion out of $3 billion, comes from the Saudi Public Investment Fund, a transaction made shortly after Kushner left the White House.

Wyden's letter highlighted concerns about Kushner’s lack of experience in private equity and hedge funds, and questioned the motivations behind the Saudi investment, especially given Kushner's perceived leniency towards Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Kushner has defended his actions, asserting that his work with the crown prince was aimed at advancing American interests. However, Wyden's investigation aims to uncover detailed information about Affinity Partners' employees, investors, and communications with foreign entities since 2021.

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