An ethics watchdog group is accusing President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, a White House senior adviser, of violating the federal “conflict of interest” with her involvement in an Opportunity Zone tax break program.
On Friday, following an investigation by the Associated Press, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked the Justice Department to investigate Trump and her husband Jared Kushner’s participation in a program that offers tax breaks for investors who decide to develop projects in rundown communities known as “opportunity zones”.
In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentstein, CREW said, “Ms. Trump was required to recuse from participating in the implementation of the opportunity zones program. She clearly did not…Thus, Ms. Trump appears to have participated in a particular matter that affects her imputed financial interests, and may have violated the conflict of interest law.”
The AP reported in their findings that Kushner, who is still tied to Ms. Trump financially, has up to $50 million in his stake in the real estate company Cadre which plans to invest in several cities under the Opportunity Zones program and could therefore benefit financially from it.
Spokesperson for Abbe Vowell, Trump’s ethics attorney released the following statement to CNN: “The Opportunity Zones legislation is a broad-sweeping, bi-partisan policy that impacts nearly 35 million Americans in communities designated by each state’s governor as underserved and in need of investment. Ms. Trump is proud of her work on this legislation, and she adheres to the ethics advice she has received from Counsel about what issues she can work on and those to which she is recused.”
The Justice Department declined to comment and the White House has not yet provided a response to the complaint.