Kushner Sells Visa Access to High-Roller Investors

First published on: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/05/no-extreme-vetting-kushners-investors

Yesterday my Twitter feed was filled with images of the Kushner family in Beijing. Most tweets either insinuated or flat out accused Jared Kushner, White House Innovations Director (whatever that is) and son-in-law to the president, of blatantly breaking conflicts of interest and ethics rules. But just because it says so on Twitter, doesn’t mean it’s true. Just look at Trump’s Twitter page, on any day, at any given time.

Then again, it is the Trump family.

The EB-5 Visa Program

The EB-5 Program was authorized by Congress under the Immigration Act of 1990. Every year, 10,000 visas are made available to wealthy foreign investors and their immediate family members. The investors must give $1 million either in cash or materials to business in the U.S. seeking to start a new project. The investment amount can be dropped to $500,000 if the new business is located in an approved targeted area in need of economic and job growth. All the money goes to the company. The U.S. government has no stake in the transaction.

If approved, the investors and their families receive a temporary visa for two years. After those two years, they are eligible for a permanent resident card and could conceivably become U.S. citizens through naturalization in years to come.

To call them investors is incorrect and misleading. The money is invested into the company, but they are essentially buying their visas.

Lack of Regulation

The requirements for the businesses boil down to it being a new project which must create 10 new jobs. Should the business fail to meet these obligations, the immigrant investor will be deported back to their country of origin. Businesses face no penalties.

This means that the immigrant investor assumes all liability in the EB-5 program. They must trust the company in the U.S. to do as it promises. In fact, most of the complaints filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) come from immigrants who gave their investments to companies that either did not start the project or finish it.

In the end, the business gets all the money and the immigrant is left hoping they keep their word. There is little oversight during the first two years, allowing scam artists to have their ways with these wealthy immigrants. Also troubling, there is no database for citizens to monitor these transactions. No transparency in who is buying these visas, where they are from or who is hiring them.

No Extreme Vetting Allowed

This is the one visa Trump will not try and ban. Susan Pai Law Offices suggests it is because 85% of EB-1 visas come from Chinese immigrants. Even though China is considered a threat to the U.S. by all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, EB-5 visa applicants are given a waiver. The amount of vetting for these immigrants is no more than what every other immigrant receives. The benefit is that they are fast tracked through the system and don’t go to the back of the line.

EB-5 visas are big business. Not only are big investment dollars being used but huge amounts of money are being made by attorneys that assist American businesses in finding these wealthy foreigners. Between the client matching and immigration legalities, law firms are raking in the bucks.

Buying Congress

Recently, Congress has suggested ending the EB-5 because it is nothing more than buying U.S. citizenship. Add to that the security risks it imposes and many in congress are crying foul. But not everyone is. Some congressmen are being influenced to continue the program.

Conflicts of Interest

Susan Pai brought up another, more interesting reason why Trump is not likely to ban the EB-5 program: his son-in-law’s company, Kushner 1, is currently in negotiations for more investments. The New York Times reported that Jared’s sister, Nicole Meyer was the one in Beijing the other day making a presentation to Chinese nationals interested in buying their way to U.S. citizenship. The Kushner family business is looking to raise $150 million to invest in their Jersey City, One Journal Square property. Both Kushner and Trump have used the EB-5 program in past developments.

The question of conflicts of interest or ethics violations remains. Kushner claims to have cut his ties to the company, but what does that mean? Does that mean he no longer receives money from that organization or that he is not involved in the day to day operations? Much like his father-in-law, Kushner is not transparent about any of this.

It is extremely worrisome that a picture of Trump and congressional supporters was shown at the conference. Are they offering access to Kushner and Trump? Is the Trump family once again inviting foreign nationalists into our institutions for their own benefit, like they did with the Russians?

None of these questions are likely to get answers any time soon seeing as how the Republicans are refusing to investigate.

 

Tee Up the Remodel for Trump’s Third White House

First published in: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/05/tee-remodel-trumps-third-white-house

Mar-A-Lago is closing for the summer season as usual. Florida is not known for comfortable summers with its ungodly humidity and giant, flying insects. Plus, no one wants to see Trump sweat like that.

But never fear, for Trump has more courses to golf at. Golf courses that are much cooler during the summer months like Bedminster, New Jersey which is where he chose to go this weekend. According to Trump, it might even save us some money.

He’s probably talking about the flight being cheaper because it’s a shorter distance, but that’s not really what costs us taxpayers so much money. It’s the added security, medical staff, military, secret service, communications and his staff that has to be flown there. Then all those personnel must be housed and fed there at the club, which Trump will gladly charge to taxpayers and pocket the money.

Communication rooms and those secret SCIF rooms will have to be constructed. Quite possibly, though I’m not positive of this, there might need to be a helicopter pad as well. Who knows really? It’s not like they’ll tell us until after our money’s spent.

The property itself is about 535 acres with 2 18-hole courses. Armed security will have to cover all of this plus shut down the local airport so that no one can fly near the course.

Do you think he’ll have a fall golf course White House? Personally, I’m hoping so, because I have way too much money lying around as I’m sure you do as well.

 

Is Trump Killing Michelle Obama’s ‘Let Girls Learn’ Program?

First published on: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/05/trump-let-girls-learn

It’s no secret that Donald Trump is a chauvinist pig. You’d have to be from Mars or in a coma not to know this. Everyone knew that Donny boy was a sexist troll of a man even before his confession to Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush about his favorite hobby of sexually assaulting women by grabbing their pussies. From the tabloids that he encouraged to report his sexual escapades to his perverted old man behavior with his pageant contestants that included teenage girls, Trump’s views on women being good for one thing has been his most consistent belief. There’s been no flip flopping on this subject. You can actually count on it versus anything else he says or does.

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a list of anti-woman policy decisions the Orange Menace has made or is asking Congress to make:
  1. The day after the Women’s March, he signed an executive order to cut funding women’s healthcare programs worldwide. This cuts funding for contraceptives, cancer screenings, HIV preventive measures and the spread of the Zika Virus to name but a few.
  2. Trump repealed Obama’s 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order. It required any companies receiving government contracts to pay women the same as they pay their male employees. It also banned companies from requiring women filing sexual harassment complaints to enter into their company run arbitration programs. These programs assist companies in silencing women’s complaints by hiding all records.
  3. He reinstated the Global Gag Rule that bans federal funding to any organization that so much as utters the word abortion.
  4. Trump made the Hyde Amendment permanent. This amendment bans federal funding for any healthcare organizations in the U.S. that provide abortions to include any subsidies for private healthcare insurance.
  5. He cut federal funding to the United Nations’ Population Fund which provides family planning and reproductive healthcare for women and girls in 150 countries.
  6. He has allowed states to block Title X money to low-income women in need of healthcare if their provider performs abortions. In some areas, these providers may be the only ones available

Additionally, Slate reported that Trump’s budget cuts proposal would cut all 25 grant programs in the Office of Violence Against Women Program. The following women’s programs are likely to be lost:

  1. victim’s recovery programs
  2. programs assisting law enforcement and courts in addressing violence against women crimes
  3. coordination of victims’ services
  4. funding for rape crisis centers
  5. funding for battered women’s shelters
  6. funding to support tribal programs assisting women victims of violence
  7. child and youth programs that assist victims of sexual abuse
  8. strategies to assist low-income families that are victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence
  9. education funds for middle, high school and universities that discuss sexual assault, date rape, domestic violence and stalking
  10. programs concerning elder abuse and neglect
  11. short-term and transitional housing for victims
  12. programs to rehabilitate children exposed to violence

The latest grenade thrown by the Trump administration against women is a proposed budget cut proposal to former First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” program. The program is administered through the Peace Corps and helps educate girls in 50 countries. Since its inception, “Let Girls Learn” has built schools, provided learning materials, trained teachers, provided safe transportation to and from school, constructed water and sanitation facilities so that girls can attend school while menstruating and addressed gender-based violence to name but a few accomplishments. Nearly 100 companies have donated to the program since 2014.

Yesterday the story emerged that this program was being discontinued, and the reaction on social media was swift and vicious. Whoops, the White House responded that heaven forfend they were not discontinuing the program, just ‘rebranding’ it. I guess they’re going to paint over the “Michelle Obama” part of it, and train women in developing countries to sew Ivanka clothes for less than a dollar a day instead?

Good luck with that.

Trump and his administration, along with the GOP, won’t be happy until we’re all barefoot, pregnant and illiterate. But yesterday’s quick flip-flop showed they will pull back when caught. Be sure to call, write and visit your congressmen and congresswomen and voice your objections to Trump’s blatant attempts to send women’s rights back to the 1920’s. These policies and program cuts will not only affect women and girls directly, but they will have generational impacts to our men and boys as well.

Time to show them how these pussies grab back.