This Week in Conflicts: Selling Space Force Merchandise, Kushner’s New Jersey Portfolio and Golf Discounts for Trump Staff


Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona. (Image Credit: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)

This week, President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign announces it plans to sell Space Force merchandise, a look at Kushner Companies’ New Jersey portfolio and discounts for White House staff.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to a Pentagon audience to announce the administration’s plans to stand up a U.S. Space Force and related organizations. (Image Credit: DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Everett Allen)

Spaceforce Gear for Sale

The Trump campaign wants to sell Space Force merchandise and is asking for help picking the final designs.

As ABC News reports, “one of the proposed logos looks like NASA’s logo, except with a red background and the phrase “SPACE FORCE” instead of “NASA.” Another option has the same background as NASA’s logo, but features the silhouette of a space shuttle along with “SPACE FORCE.”

The merchandise announcement was made in an email after Vice President Mike Pence laid out the Pentagon’s plan to build Space Force. The email asked supporters to vote for their favorite logo design. There were six options to choose from.

Axios is reporting, “White House officials were surprised when, shortly after the vice president gave a sober speech announcing Trump administration plans to develop a Space Force, the campaign blasted out an email fundraising off the idea.”

Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to President Donald J. Trump, sits in on a meeting with Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Ministry of Defense in Baghdad, Iraq, April 3, 2017. (DoD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro)

Kushner’s New Jersey Portfolio

Kushner Companies may have sold 666 Fifth Ave in New York City, but as highlights they have a portfolio of properties in New Jersey still.

“Kushner Cos., which once appeared to have abandoned its New Jersey residential real estate empire to move into New York, has slowly been returning to its roots,” the news organizations reports.

The story highlight recent purchases by Kushner Companies, including:

  • The acquisition of the Bungalow Hotel, a boutique hotel located along the Jersey Shore, in May
  • Breaking ground on another hotel in Pier Village
  • Closing on Prospect Place, a 360-unit multi-family rental property in Hackensack earlier this year
  • Purchasing Quail Ridge in Plainsboro, a 1,032-unit complex in southern Middlesex County in 2017

Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has resigned as the chief executive of Kushner Companies but still retains most of his stake in the company.

President Donald Trump and staff on Air Force One. (Image Credit: The White House)

Discounts for Trump Staff

Multiple news organizations are reporting President Trump’s staff can receive discounts on Trump-branded merchandise at the Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster.

“White House staffers who have a Secret Service hard pin identifying them as administration officials can flash it at the pro shop — where Trump-branded driver headcovers retail for $40 and a Trump golf polo tee sells for $90, according to the online Trump store — and receive the same discount available to club members, who pay a reported $350,000 to join the club,” Politico reports. “Those discounts range from 15 percent off of any merchandise sold in the store, to 70 percent off clearance items, according to two staffers and a receipt reviewed by POLITICO.”

Ethics experts are weighing in on the discounts, calling them “absolutely wrong.”

According to the Office of Government Ethics, discounts are not prohibited if they are available to all government employees, or if it’s a standardized discount. If the discount is not available to all government employees or is not a standard discount, it is considered a gift. Federal officials are not allowed to accept gifts that cost more than $20 and are urged to decline any gifts.

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.