Jared Kushner As 'Point Person' for Trump Campaign Fundraising Would Be 'Unacceptable' Under Law: Bush Ethics Chief

Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner reportedly placing himself as the "point person" for the Trump campaign's fundraising for the 2020 election would be an "unacceptable" violation of federal law, a former chief ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush said.

President Donald Trump's son-in-law Kushner is "eager to take control" of fundraising "for personal and strategic reasons," The New York Times reported on Monday based on people close to him.

Kushner arranged a dinner at the White House residence last month with Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who largely leads fundraising, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and major donors, to express disapproval on money-raising efforts, a half-dozen sources told The Times.

However, there was no consensus that the campaign was experiencing difficulty raising money. Rather, Republican National Committee officials said they are on track to secure $400 million since 2017, almost double their projection of the Democratic National Committee's $203.2 million in the same period.

Kushner is "positioning himself as the point person on raising money for the campaign," The Times wrote, reporting also that he and his wife, senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump, have claimed they are the only White House officials truly committed to protecting the president's interests. Kushner reportedly booked the dinner without inviting counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, who served as the 2016 Trump campaign manager, or first lady Melania Trump.

If Kushner indeed were to act as the point person for Trump campaign fundraising, "that's unacceptable" and "specifically prohibited by the Hatch Act," former White House ethics chief Richard Painter told Newsweek.

NYT: Kushner is "positioning himself as the point person on raising money for the campaign," organizing campaign fundraising meetings at the White House

THE LAW: It's illegal for Jared to be involved in fundraising for the Trump campaign https://t.co/tVMyG9le9S

— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) June 4, 2019

The Hatch Act bars executive branch employees from using their official positions to interfere with or influence the outcome of an election. Painter said that a reasonable interpretation of the law is that employees are not allowed to ask for money or ask other people to seek donations.

"He should not be raising money, he should not be asking other people to raise money," Painter said of Kushner. "It makes no sense to have a point person who can't ask for money and can't ask specific individuals to raise money."

Regarding whether Kushner should face repercussions if he were to allegedly violate the Hatch Act, Painter pointed out that the Office of Special Counsel, which reviews Hatch Act offenses, previously informed the president that Conway violated the act by bashing a Democratic candidate outside the White House. But the president did not punish Conway and she has appeared to continue breaking the law.

"Because Kellyanne Conway can violate the Hatch Act and get away with it, the message is that there are no penalties for violating the Hatch Act. The president just ignores it," Painter said. "You don't have criminal prosecution—that's a big problem."

Jared Kushner Fundraising Hatch Act
Jared Kushner (L) looks on as his wife Ivanka Trump smiles at her father Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump during his speech to supporters and the media at Trump Tower in Manhattan following his victory in the Indiana primary on May 3, 2016, in New York. If Kushner acted as a point person for 2020 Trump campaign fundraising it would be an "unacceptable" violation of the Hatch Act, former White House ethics chief Richard Painter said. Getty/Corbis