It's a family affair in the White House for President Donald Trump now that both his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, have accepted roles as senior government officials. But presumably in an attempt to sidestep concerns about nepotism, neither Ivanka nor Kushner's positions actually come with a salary — a 1967 anti-nepotism law bars Treasury funds from going to the relatives of public officials. Since they're both working for free, it seems safe to assume that the couple is extremely well-off (not that anyone would have thought otherwise), but what is Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner's net worth exactly?
According to NBC News, the White House released financial disclosure statements for a number of senior officials Friday, and Kushner's shows that the couple has an estimated $700 million in combined assets. But what is perhaps most noteworthy is that, despite plenty of ongoing debate about possible conflicts of interest, it appears that both Kushner and Ivanka opted out of fully divesting their assets as many ethics experts have recommended, and are still linked to a variety of lucrative business entities despite their roles in Washington. According to ABC News, Kushner's disclosure form showed that Ivanka, for one, still maintains a stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., even though the Trump Organization literally rents the historic building from the government she now works for. And, according to The Guardian, that stake alone is thought to have earned her between $1 million and $5 million between January 2016 to March 2017.
According to Kushner's disclosure, Ivanka is said to have earned as much as $10 million last year, while her husband earned a whopping $180 million, according to NBC News. In addition, Ivanka's fashion jewelry lines were valued at more than $50 million, but the disclosure shows that she stepped down from the company prior to Trump's inauguration, and thus no longer earns an income. Kushner also backed away from the bulk of his investments prior to accepting his White House job, according to ABC News, and resigned from or sold around 300 businesses he was involved in. The majority of his financial holdings were also placed in a trust overseen by his mother, but questions still remain over whether the couple have actually done enough to ensure they are free from conflicts of interest.
Kushner's financial disclosure seems to suggest that, like President Trump, the couple's remaining business ties may still pose an issue from an ethical perspective — particularly in respect to Kushner's global real estate assets. As The New York Times noted, Kushner's companies have forged deals in China, the Middle East, and Russia, but now, in his role as the president's advisor, he has been put in charge of Israeli and the Palestinian relations, according to Fortune, and has also been acting as a "shadow diplomat," for the President as Trump meets with global leaders, including, most recently, Chinese leader, Xi Jinping in Florida last week, according to The New York Times.
What is especially significant though, is that, while the President himself may be exempt from conflict of interest laws, as White House employees, Kushner and Ivanka are not. That means that, as The New York Times pointed out, they are both "forbidden under federal criminal and civil law to take any action that might benefit their particular financial holdings." The good news for Kushner at least is that his lawyers, along with the Office of the White House Counsel and the Office of Government Ethics, don't seem particularly worried.
According to the Associated Press, attorney Jamie Gorelick, who has been working on behalf of Kushner and Ivanka said that, while the couple does have "remaining conflicts," they are "pretty narrow and very manageable." But in a piece for USA Today, former White House ethics lawyers Richard Painter and Norman Eisen, along with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and Executive Branch Ethics Counsel Virginia Canter, argued that between them, the couple has "so many potential conflicts of interest" that they would be legally barred from advising the president on trade, tax reform and Wall Street deregulation.
Why? Well, for one, in addition to maintaining "extensive real estate holdings" throughout the country, according to USA Today, Kushner also has "secured lines of credit ... through 10 banks, including Deutsche Bank, Bank of America and Citigroup." And that's only his personal lending arrangements — the disclosure did not include information on lenders involved in business in which he maintains an interest. According to CNN, Trump has vowed to repeal Dodd-Frank, the 2010 Wall Street law enacted by President Obama in response to the recession, and presumably, would expect two of his top advisors to assist him. But as Painter, Eisen, and Canter noted, Kushner's holdings and lines of credit mean that neither he, nor Ivanka, would be legally able to weigh in on the issue at all.
Although Ivanka's financial situation has been outlined as part of her husband's disclosure, her own statement has yet to be released, given that she only recently took on her official role. It's not yet clear how it might differ from Kushner's or whether she will have made any further moves to divest herself of her business interests since Kushner's disclosure was completed, though it might be possible. And it's also worth noting that, while Kushner and Ivanka's net worth is pretty astounding, they are certainly not the only ones on Trump's team with major assets: according to the Associated Press, Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, disclosed assets between $13 million and $56 million, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus disclosed a salary of more than $500,000 (including bonuses) from the Republican National Committee, along with approximately $750,000 in "equity buyout and partner-distribution income" from the law firm Michael Best & Friedrich, among others.
While having access to financial disclosure statements is valuable — particularly given the unprecedented level of wealth in Trump's cabinet — the fact that it doesn't seem to be doing much to ease concerns about conflicts of interest is worrying. Now that Kushner and Ivanka are White House employees, the already-existing laws in place meant to guard against ethical issues will hopefully ensure that the Trump family's business interests do not interfere with their public roles. But it also doesn't seem unreasonable to think that the members of Trump's administration could likely be doing more to ease Americans' concerns.