Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon has called for an investigation into first daughter Ivanka Trump.
In a letter addressed to U.S. Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub, Wyden, the Senate Finance Committee ranking member, urges the director to look into Ivanka's business interests, reports Attn.
Wyden expressed concern that Ivanka's business enterprises constitute a conflict of interest that could harm U.S. trade and foreign policy. His letter is reprinted on the website of the Senate Committee on Finance.
"To date Ms. Trump and her husband Jared Kushner have played a prominent role in relations with foreign governments," Wyden writes. "At the same time, Ms. Trump continues to pursue a number of business interests, including apparel businesses valued at over $50,000,000 and reported efforts to establish a 'massive fund' backed by foreign governments and corporations."
The Chinese connection to her products is specified in Wyden's letter. "Many of Ms. Trump’s businesses sell Ivanka Trump branded merchandise, and the Chinese market plays an important role in the manufacturing, export, and sale of these products ... On April 6 the Chinese government granted provisional approval for three new trademarks for the Ivanka Trump brand ... Experts have stated that Ms. Trump’s trademarks applications appear to have been approved 'incredibly quickly' compared to the normal 18 month to two year application process."
Her business activities in the Middle East are also troubling, he said, in light of her husband's role as a key adviser to President Donald Trump for policies affecting that region. Wyden writes: "For example, Mr. Kushner appears to be the President’s principal Middle East advisor, visiting military forces in Iraq earlier [in April] and leading the Administration’s peace efforts in the region. If reports that Ms. Trump is establishing a fund backed by Middle Eastern interests are accurate, the fund’s existence would create significant opportunity to improperly influence the White House both through Ms. Trump’s role as an advisor and Mr. Kushner’s."
In summary, Wyden's letter concludes:
I am concerned that Ms. Trump’s refusal to divest from her business interests, and her creation of a fund to solicit foreign money, provides foreign governments an opportunity to improperly influence United States trade and foreign policy. As the director of the Office of Government Ethics, you have the authority to review potential ethics violations and notify the employee’s agency of any potential violation. I request that you review Ms. Trump’s plans to establish a “massive fund,” as well as the level of control and financial interest Ms. Trump retains in her apparel business and determine whether her role as a White House advisor creates an impermissible conflict of interest.