As questions about the Trump administration's conflicts of interest continue to swirl, the real estate firm owned by Jared Kushner's family is under federal investigation for its use of a program that offers visas in exchange for financial investments.
The president's son-in-law and top advisor still owns a large portion of Kushner Companies, which has been accused of promoting its connection to the Trump administration while courting potential investors and of misusing the federal EB-5 program.
Kushner's sister, Nicole Meyer, discussed her connection to Trump at a marketing event in Beijing in May, where potential investors were informed they could receive visas and potentially green cards for themselves and their families if they invested $500,000 in one of Kushner Companies' projects. "In 2008, my brother Jared Kushner joined the family company as CEO," Meyer said, adding that he "recently moved to Washington to join the administration."
Two private immigration companies that help Kushner Companies find investors, the U.S. Immigration Fund and the Chinese company Qiaowai, have also touted their connections to Kushner and Trump in an effort to woo investors for one of the company's projects.
"What is not authorized is any arrangement where someone gets preference for their visa if they give money to a company that is controlled by the family of a United States government official," said Richard Painter, a former ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, in an interview wth CNN. "And unfortunately, that implication was made in the selling efforts for this project."
Meyer and the two companies were seeking investors through the federal EB-5 program, which was established in 1990 as a way to bring foreign investment into economically depressed areas in exchange for visas for investors.
Kushner Companies is one of many development firms that critics say have taken advantage of the program to funnel money to their projects. According to a report by CNN, the firm was approved to use the EB-5 program after census data was manipulated on its behalf by the U.S. Immigration Fund, making it appear that Kushner Companies was developing a project in a low-income area.
The firm has reportedly been subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney's office for details on its use of the program.