Ivanka Trump’s permanent government security clearance seems to be twisting in the wind, like her husband’s. That may be because she continues pulling in $1.5 million a year from the family business, the Trump Organization, even as she travels internationally representing the U.S. as a White House adviser, McClatchy reports.
Her dual role as adviser to the president and private business executive raises red flags concerning conflicts of interest. Ethics experts say the conflict raises the possibility that public policy could be affected by what works best for Trump’s bottom line, or that countries may offer business deals in exchange for access and favored treatment by the U.S. government.
Early in her father’s presidency, the first daughter dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping at her father’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on the same day China approved three new trademarks for Ivanka Trump Marks LLC.
Ivanka Trump stepped aside as vice president of companies in the Trump Organization, yet she continues to be an owner. According to her financial disclosure filing, she reported that she receives $1.5 million annually from three companies within the Trump Organization, McClatchy reported. The payments included $800,000 from TTT Consulting, $600,000 from TTT Venture, and $100,000 from T International Reality.
The companies are involved in at least five international projects that are raising ethics concern, according to McClatchy. They include a Chinese government contract to build a road at a Trump development in Dubai, and a plan by another contractor partly owned by the Saudi Arabian government to build a Trump development there.
Donald Trump, along with Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner, have failed to divest themselves from their private businesses, radically breaking with tradition. They have stepped aside from day-to-day management of their companies, but maintain financial ties and refuse to release tax returns that could reveal conflicts of interest.
Kushner was stripped of his top-secret security clearance last month. Ivanka Trump appears to still have an interim clearance, according to McClatchy.
Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr., who has no formal government job, made $15 million in real estate sales in a Trump Towers project in India, where he planned to deliver a “foreign policy speech” last month alongside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After critics complained, Trump dropped the policy speech.
The president promised at the start of his term that he would sign no new foreign business deals in office, but his company has.
Ivanka Trump “transitioned from being an active investor and manager to being merely a passive investor,” based on “ethics advice she received,” said a spokesman for an attorney representing Kushner and his wife.
Common Cause has launched a petition calling for Ivanka Trump and Kushner to divest their assets, establish a blind trust or recuse themselves from much of their government work.
“We deserve public servants who serve only the public; we can’t trust government officials’ decisions if their wealth is involved,” the nonpartisan group said in a statement.
Common Cause calls the couple’s continued holdings in private business projects that involve some of the same countries and business leaders they negotiate with in their White House jobs an “absolutely intolerable conflict of interest” that “can’t go unchallenged.”