Ethics watchdog group files complaint against Jared Kushner for ties with online venture

A D.C.-area watchdog group has asked the Office of Government Ethics, or OGE, to look into White House senior adviser Jared Kushner's alleged ongoing involvement in a highly valued business venture he helped create, reports The Hill.

In a letter dated July 6, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, asks the OGE to determine if Kushner "failed to make the required disclosure of his ownership interest in an online real estate investment company called Cadre."

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The group also requests that the agency "take appropriate action to ensure Mr. Kushner's potential conflicts of interest in the technology and electronic commerce sectors are eliminated."

As CREW's Executive Director, Noah Bookbinder, said in a statement, "Kushner's failure to disclose his ownership in Cadre is very troubling. It appears to be one of his larger investments, not something he could easily overlook, and it is impossible to ensure that senior government officials are behaving ethically if they fail to disclose key assets."

The Wall Street Journal reported in early May that Kushner did not appear to have disclosed his stake in Cadre which also counts billionaires Peter Thiel and George Soros among its other investors.

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As of last month, the venture, which bills itself as "a platform that connects qualified individuals and institutions to fully vetted, compelling real estate investment opportunities," was reportedly valued at $800 million.

Despite additional funding that has been raised since Kushner helped launch the company, CREW argues in its letter that "Mr. Kushner co-founded Cadre and continues to own a significant part of it."

However, Jamie Gorelick, a lawyer for the White House senior adviser, told the Journal that he has "resigned from Cadre's board, assigned his voting rights and reduced his ownership share."

She also indicated the OGE was aware of the company based on a previous conversation with Kushner.

CREW's letter was addressed to the agency's director Walter Shaub who announced Thursday that he would be stepping down from the position about six months early.