This Week in Conflicts: Ivanka Trump’s Brand Pulled from Shelves, Kushner Companies Close Ties to Washington and Ross Admits “Errors”


This week, one of the largest department stores in Canada will no longer sell Ivanka Trump’s clothing, accessory or shoe lines, a look at some of the companies and individuals Kushner Companies is making deals with and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross admits to “errors” in failing to divest assets.

Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner participates in a roundtable discussion with members of the American Technology Council in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Monday, June 19, 2017, at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Stephanie K. Chasez)

Kushner Companies and Washington Ties

The New York Times is reporting Kushner Companies, Jared Kushner’s family’s real estate firm has several deals in the works with companies and individuals awaiting big decisions from the federal government.

Some of the examples include:

  • An arm of Brookfield Asset Management potentially investing up to $700 million in the Kushner family’s tower at 666 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. At the same time, another Brookfield unit is waiting for approval from the Trump administration for its acquisition of the nuclear-power company Westinghouse Electric.
  • Kushner Companies recently negotiated with a businessman who arranges United States visas in exchange for real estate investments from overseas.

Kushner has resigned as the chief executive of Kushner Companies but still retains most of his stake in the company. As President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, experts say the combination of his broad White House responsibilities and personal business interests could create real and perceived conflicts of interest.

“Jared knows who is invested with the family business. He can’t unlearn that,” Don Fox, acting director of the Office of Government Ethics under President Barack Obama told the New York Times. “There is absolutely potential for him to be influenced if he has to make a decision or provide advice to cabinet officials that could affect his investors. And that can’t be lost on the people that are investing with him.”

Ivanka’s Brand Pulled from Shelves

As the Washington Post reports one of Canada’s largest department stores, Hudson’s Bay Co., announced it will stop carrying Ivanka Trump’s clothing, accessory and shoe lines.

The company pulled the items Friday from its website and says it will stop selling her products in their stores across the country. Hudson’s Bay owns Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. Saks does not sell Ivanka Trump items online while Lord & Taylor does.

The company said the decision to stop selling Ivanka Trump’s brand was based on the brand’s  “performance” and her company was made aware of the decision last fall.

“Ivanka Trump’s fashion line has taken quite a beating since her father took office,” the article reads. Other major retailers, including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Marshalls have scaled back on the amount of Ivanka Trump brand items they offer.

Ivanka Trump no longer oversees the daily operation of her company but earned an estimated $5 million from the brand last year, according to financial disclosures.

Official portrait of Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. (Image Credit: U.S. Department of Commerce)

Ross Admits to “Errors”

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross admitted to “errors” in failing to divest assets and said he will sell all his stock holdings, CNN is reporting.

This comes after Ross was criticized for inconsistencies in his financial disclosure forms. According to the Office of Government Ethics, Ross’ failure to divest certain investments “created the potential for serious criminal violation.”

“My investments were complex and included hundreds of items,” Ross said in a statement. “I self-reported each error, and worked diligently with my department’s ethics officials to make sure I avoided any conflicts of interest.”

The acting director and general counsel for the Office of Government Ethics, David Apol, said the agency had “no information to contradict” Ross’ assertion.

More conflicts of interest in the news

About this Project

Sunlight’s “Tracking Trump’s Conflicts of Interest” presents a comprehensive, free, searchable database detailing all of President Donald J.Trump’s known business dealings and personal interests that may conflict with his public duties as president of the United States. Read our reporting to stay current on related news, learn more about conflicts of interest at every level of government and search our database. If you’re familiar with any of the conflicts we’re tracking you can email us or contact us here to contribute to the project.

Lynn Walsh is an Emmy award-winning freelance journalist who has worked in investigative, data and TV journalism at the national level as well as locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida. She produces content focused on government accountability, public access to information and freedom of expression issues. She’s also helping to rebuild trust between newsrooms and the public through the Trusting News project.