Nicole Kushner Meyer is apologizing for mentioning her brother, Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser and son-in-law to President Donald Trump, during an investment conference in China over the weekend.
Meyer was looking for people to invest $150 million in Kushner company-owned New Jersey developments, which, as part of the new EB-5 visa program, would allow wealthy people from other countries to legally immigrate much faster if they invested $500,000 in U.S. properties.
“In 2008, my brother Jared Kushner joined the family company as CEO, and recently moved to Washington to join the administration,” CNN Money reports she said during the presentation. She also reportedly said the project “means a lot to [her] and [her] family.”
After news of the name-dropping broke, former chief White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter told CBS the incident was “an abuse of power ” that “should not be allowed.”
The Kushner company said Meyer “apologizes if that mention of her brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors. That was not Ms. Meyer’s intention.” The organization also emphasized Kushner “stepped away from the company in January and has nothing to do with [the] project” his sister was pitching.
President Donald Trump signed the bill just one day before Meyer pitched it in China. Though she didn’t mention Trump by name, his photo appeared on a slide labeled “key decision makers” when it came to the EB-5 program.
Executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Noah Bookbinder told the New York Times the presentation was “highly problematic” and that it could very easily be interpreted as selling rich Chinese citizens easy access to the senior adviser. He also suggested Kushner publicly recuse himself from any EB-5 program-related discussions. Kushner’s attorney Blake Roberts told the paper that’s what Kushner intends to do.