The closing arguments of the 2020 campaign can be summed up as: Donald Trump wants to talk about Joe Biden’s family, while Joe Biden wants to talk about your family, and how to help it get through these times.
And when I say Trump wants to talk Joe Biden’s family, I of course mean Biden’s son Hunter and the new (sketchy at best) allegations arising from a mysterious laptop that recently surfaced courtesy of Trump’s BFF Rudy Giuliani. Despite no independent verification of the contents of this laptop, there was Trump at his rally Sunday leading his audience in a chant of “Lock him up” about Joe Biden.
But where is the discussion and investigation into the various conflicts of interest and possible illegality that involves Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who appears to have greatly profited from being a part of this White House? And these aren’t new allegations raised to be a political counterbalance to the recent ones against Hunter.
Rather, as documented by the non-partisan watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), Ivanka’s unethical conduct dates back to early 2017 and ranges from her receiving trademarks from the Chinese government while her father was in talks with the Chinese president to a complaint filed by CREW in January 2019 with the Department of Justice to assess if Ivanka and husband Jared Kushner violated federal law by profiting from a tax program they had championed.
If Hunter Biden had received a lucrative deal from a foreign country on the very same day his then-vice president father was meeting with the leader of that foreign country, Trump—and many in the media—would be calling that out as sleazy and possibly illegal. But Ivanka Trump has done that and worse and we don’t hear a peep. For example, in April 2017, on the very same day Trump dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government granted preliminary approval for Ivanka’s long-sought-after trademarks for her namesake fashion brand.
Another jaw-dropping example of possible blatant corruption, as CREW detailed, came when Ivanka received preliminary approval for additional trademarks from China’s government on June 7, 2018. What else happened on June 7, 2018? Her father agreed to lift sanctions against the massive Chinese telecommunication company ZTE, which is partly owned by the Chinese government. The Trumps aren’t even trying to hide the conflicts!
One of the most serious allegations flagged by CREW was in January 2019 when the organization filed a complaint with Trump’s Department of Justice addressed to then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein asking “that the Department of Justice investigate whether Assistant to the President Ivanka Trump violated the primary federal conflict of interest law, 18 U.S.C. § 208, when she participated personally and substantially in a particular matter directly and predictably affecting her financial interests.”
What prompted this complaint was Ivanka and her husband’s personal involvement in the Trump administration’s implementation of a new tax law authorizing “Opportunity Zones” that would provide tax breaks to owners of certain types of real estate holdings. As CREW explained, Ivanka worked on this program while being aware that “her husband, Jared Kushner, held financial interests worth millions of dollars in an entity benefitting from that program.”
CREW’s Executive Director Noah Bookbinder explained at the time, “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have continued to conduct themselves in ways that create a real possibility that they are capitalizing on their roles as government officials to enrich themselves.” (There’s no public record of the DOJ ever acting on this complaint.)
It doesn’t end there. Ivanka filed for trademarks from the Japanese government for her business shortly after the 2016 election. When were these trademarks formally approved? In February 2018, within days of Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Japan to meet with Japanese government leaders.
Just last month CREW flagged that Ivanka—who purportedly closed her business in 2018 to avoid further conflicts of interest—was somehow still reporting income from her company in 2019. The American people deserve an “explanation as to how a business can both cease all operations and still be making her as much as a million dollars a year,” CREW stated in an article on its website about Ivanka’s business dealings.
And last week, CREW detailed that Ivanka had violated the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from using their official position to engage in partisan politics, eight times in just 48 hours. The first daughter accomplished this feat by using her Twitter account to help her father’s floundering 2020 campaign.
It’s not that I’m hoping we soon hear “lock her up” about Ivanka at Democratic rallies. Rather, as opposed to the Hunter Biden allegations—that were so lacking in credibility that even Fox News passed on breaking the recent story—Ivanka Trump’s record of years of unethical and potentially illegal conduct is well documented.
These allegations demand a full investigation to determine Ivanka and her father’s possible role in these sweetheart deals. Despite what Donald and Ivanka may believe, just because your last name is Trump does not mean you are above the law.