WASHINGTON, D.C. – New reporting from the New York Post revealed that at least five portfolio companies of Thrive Capital, the venture capital firm run by Joshua Kushner, the brother of President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, grabbed up at least $2.8 million from the Trump SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Government watchdog Accountable.US called it another example of how the well-connected exploited the program at the expense of mom-and-pop shops across the country.
A total lack of transparency allowed the administration to pervert a program meant for struggling small businesses into another vehicle for enriching the wealthy and well-connected -- which just happened to work to the benefit of people connected to the White House in more ways than one. While it may just be the conflict of interest de jour for Jared Kushner, it’s an insult to the tens of thousands of small businesses that were shut out of this program, especially in communities of color. There’s no better example why Congress should turn the page and establish a new program that is transparent, accountable, and can actually get help to the communities who need it.”
Kyle Herrig, President of Accountable.US
While Thrive Capital was originally founded by and is still managed by Joshua Kushner, it also has ties to Jared. Before landing his job at the White House, Jared Kushner was a major player in the firm, and has repeatedly invested in Cadre, a questionable real-estate firm Jared founded that is intimately familiar with offshore tax havens. Last month it was reported that Jared conveniently changed his mind on divesting from Cadre.
The revelations today follow reporting from Salon that the parent company of Observer Media, a news firm owned by Kushner prior to his joining the administration, as well as two of the family’s New Jersey hotels, all scored up to millions in PPP aid. It is no wonder the Trump administration quietly moved to allow lawmakers, federal officials and their families to be exempted from conflict of interest reviews in applying for PPP funds.
Accountable.US has been tracking PPP spending as part of its www.COVIDBailoutTracker.com project, and has outlined priorities for Congress to ensure a fairer and more transparent system for getting relief to the small businesses that need it most. Last week, the nonpartisan watchdog called on the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Small Business Administration to investigate the Trump administration’s mismanagement of the PPP, which has distributed hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money with little oversight or accountability.