Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are both coming under increasing scrutiny for reportedly using American taxpayer money for their personal vacations.
The recent leaks of Paradise Papers, a set of documents showing how the ultra-rich of the world funnel huge amounts of their money into offshore accounts, has already brought about a meticulous dissection of Kushner’s business ties with associates in Russia and Saudi Arabia. As the Guardian reported, Russian tech magnate Yuri Milner, who also co-owns a business with Jared Kushner, invested millions of dollars into American social media companies including Facebook and Twitter through state institutions linked to the Kremlin. Whether or not Kushner was actively involved or had knowledge of such practices is anybody’s guess at this point, but Russia reached a remarkable 126 million Americans through advertisements created at the country’s Internet Research Agency (IRA), or troll factory, as it is more colloquially called, helping to influence American political inclinations.
And now, Vanity Fair reports that Jared and Ivanka may be in trouble for using taxpayer money for private vacations. Back in August, Donald Trump’s administration was widely criticized for its response to white nationalist demonstrations in Charlottesville which grew violent. At the time, it was reported that instead of helping the White House deal with the situation, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were spotted vacationing in Vermont. Now it has been revealed that the couple reportedly used a Trump Organization helicopter to fly to an exclusive ski resort. It is highly likely that taxpayers had to foot the bill for Jared and Ivanka’s rendezvous, former President George W. Bush’s ethics chief, Richard Painter, told Newsweek.
“Taxpayers are paying for Secret Service to accompany Ivanka and Jared on their trips and vacations. Because they choose to use a Trump Organization aircraft, you’ve got the problem we’ve been dealing with all along: the government is paying the Trump Organization to protect the first family, when it shouldn’t be.”
Virginia Canter, executive branch ethics counsel to a citizens’ watchdog group, agreed with this assessment.
“Jared and Ivanka’s use of a Trump Organization helicopter for their personal use blurs the line between the White House and the family business.
[It] reinforces the belief that they are unable and unwilling to put the public interest before the family business.”
If the secret service indeed had to pay the Trump Organization to escort Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump to Vermont, it definitely won’t be the first time that the Trump family has used taxpayer money for personal indulgences. The agency has already spent $137,000 this year to rent golf carts during Trump’s visit to his own properties.
Earlier this year, Trump’s former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price had to resign soon into his tenure when it was revealed that he used private charter flights for official trips.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]