There still may be financial ties that we don’t know about

The ABCs of ethics: it’s not ethical to have a government job with huge decision-making power over businesses and the economy they swim in, while also having businesses that can benefit or lose from your own decisions. Super basic, right? Not hard to understand?

CNBC reports:

Ivanka Trump or her trust received at least $12.6 million since early 2016 from her various business ventures and has an arrangement to guarantee her at least $1.5 million a year even as she serves in a top White House position, according to her first ethics disclosure made public late Friday.

The report was released alongside an updated filing by her husband, Jared Kushner, who is also serving as a top adviser to President Trump. It shows that the couple benefit from an active business empire worth as much as $761 million to them, an arrangement that ethics experts warn poses potentials for conflicts of interest as the couple have been given a wide-ranging portfolio of government responsibilities.

Of course it does. It’s a ludicrous arrangement. It’s made all the more ludicrous by their total lack of relevant education and experience: they have those jobs only because they are close relatives of the Dictator, and not because they bring anything of value. It’s about as scammy as it could be.

Ms. Trump, who resigned from nearly 300 leadership positions at various entities within the family real estate businesses and at her fashion brand, has continued to receive millions of dollars from both streams, including more than $2.4 million from her stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington and more than $2.5 million in salary and severance from the Trump Organization.

Ms. Trump received about $1.7 million in payments from T International Realty, the family’s luxury brokerage agency, as well as two other real estate companies for various management, consulting and licensing work, the documents show. Those payments, for work done in 2016, were based on the companies’ performance.

See it doesn’t matter how many positions she resigns from; she still owns the companies or shares of the companies so she still has an interest in how they fare under the Dictator’s administration. The arrangement is corrupt as fuck.

But going forward, she will receive fixed payments — a change that her advisers say was developed in consultation with the Office of Government Ethics to minimize her potential conflicts by removing her interest in how well her family’s business performs.

Pathetic. The Office of Government Ethics rolled over. The companies are still there and she will return to profiting from them if they continue to make a profit, so the potential conflicts are still there.

Although the documents show Ms. Trump’s personal assets, income and liabilities, they do not disclose her brand’s fashion licensing partners, for example, or real estate clients. Such information is not required, demonstrating the limits of such disclosures for government officials with vast business interests.

“There still may be financial ties that we don’t know about,” said Lawrence M. Noble, a former general counsel and chief ethics officer of the Federal Election Commission. “These really weren’t meant to deal with a situation where somebody’s going to keep a major business interest.”

That’s why the norm is that they don’t keep a major business interest.

Ethics experts say the extensive holdings of the two pose potential conflicts of interest. Unlike Mr. Trump, who is exempt from federal ethics laws, Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump are prohibited by those laws from taking any government action that might benefit their financial holdings.

Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump both “walk a very fine line in having to step aside and recuse themselves from certain discussions and give advice if it would benefit them and their business personally,” said Scott H. Amey, the general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit organization.

“And we won’t know if they are taking necessary steps to recuse themselves because, unfortunately, the ethics process requires a lot of self-policing,” he said.

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