Nicole Kushner Meyer, the sister of White House adviser and President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, spoke at an event in Beijing on Saturday. She was marketing a Kushner-owned property in New Jersey -- invest in the development and get into the United States on a so-called EB-5 visa.
An ad for the event, held at a Ritz-Carlton hotel, said "Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States."
The EB-5 visa has been used by the Trump and Kushner family businesses.
On Saturday, potential investors in the Kushner project were told they should act quickly because possible policy changes to the EB-5 program might raise the required minimum investment.
Nicole Kushner Meyer also mentioned Jared's new position in the White House. President Trump photo appeared on a slide that listed the "key decision makers" on the EB-5 program.
"In 2008, my brother Jared Kushner joined the family company as CEO, and recently moved to Washington to join the administration," she said.
The most amazing thing about this is how brazen it is. They sent Kushner’s own sister to China to make the pitch, seemingly to remind potential investors just how direct their pipeline to the Oval Office could be.
Jared Kushner serves as an influential senior adviser to the president. Trump has at various times said he would lead or play a key role in many policy areas from foreign affairs to business innovation.
The event was meant to draw investors for 1 Journal Square, a $976.4 million residential and commercial project underway in New Jersey. The company says about 15% of it will be funded through the EB-5 program.
Attendees at the presentation surely understood how politically connected the Kushners are even without his sister getting into specifics. The materials noted the family’s “celebrity” status — wink wink. And the Chinese upper crust are very familiar with how regimes operate where gaining influence requires making nice with “princelings,” i.e. children of the political elite. At Saturday’s event, attendee Wang Yun, a Chinese investor, said the Kushner family’s ties to Trump were an obvious part of the project’s appeal. “Even though this is the project of the son-in-law’s family, of course it is still affiliated,” Wang said.
All of that being so, an EB-5 pitch from the “princeling” Kushners carries two special charms to a foreign investor. One, it provides an unusual degree of confidence that the investment/bribe will in fact produce the visa they’re after (which federal immigration bureaucrat would dare slow-walk a Kushner investor?), and two, it carries the potential for a relationship with the president himself. The EB-5 is known as “the golden visa” among Chinese but an EB-5 via the Kushners is really more of a platinum visa. The only more attractive “investment” opportunity in the U.S. for a wealthy foreigner would be one with the Trump family itself.
So obvious is the stench of conflicts of interest from this that organizers at the Kushner event in Beijing yesterday reportedly panicked once they discovered there were NYT and WaPo reporters there to cover it and ended up hassling them even though it was advertised as a public event. The Beijing event, which was organized by Chinese immigration agency Qiaowai, was open to the public. Reporters from the Washington Post and the New York Times attended but said they were later harassed and forcefully removed.