COVID-19 CORRUPTION: Meet Jared Kushner, Secretary of Graft
What else would you call the point man for private profiteering on the COVID-19 response?
Thanks to some thorough reporting by Politico, we now know that Jared Kushner is running a shadow COVID-19 response team alongside the official task force led by Mike Pence. Pence once characterized his group as an “all-of-government response,” but Kushner’s team is an “all-of-private-sector response” full of private equity executives and health care profiteers. That “all-of-private-sector” line isn’t me being snide: it’s how some of the anonymous White House officials in the report characterized their own colleagues. …
Members of his shadow task force include his former roommate Adam Boehler, a private equity and venture capital bro who was a deputy to Seema Verma (of Medicaid co-pays infamy) before taking charge of the International Development Finance Corporation. Boehler’s replacement, Brad Smith, is also on the Kushner team. Smith, like Boehler, made it big as an entrepreneur by building a home-based palliative care company, which got him a COO job at an Anthem subdivision.
Rounding out the CMS representatives is Andy Slavitt, the last head of Obama’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Slavitt’s $115 million venture capital fund has an undisclosed sum of money invested in Boehler’s old firm, Landmark Health.
Other Kushner team members include private equity executive David Calouri, a career healthcare investor; and Nat Turner, an online advertising-turned-medtech CEO (Boehler is also considered a Silicon Valley-type within the executive branch).
So we have a group of entrepreneurs and investors who all made their money in healthcare secretly managing the federal government’s response to the greatest healthcare crisis in decades. Some have investments in each other’s businesses. They’re in a position to learn more about the virus, and our health system’s needs, than almost anyone. Indeed, Kushner’s group has been given leeway to work with a broad range of agencies, including FEMA, HHS, and USAID. And they set themselves up in this way without the White House ever telling the public.
During a discussion on MSNBC’s AM Joy, Joy Reid and journalist David Cay Johnston said it would be “naive” to think that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump weren’t profiting – or at least trying to profit – from the coronavirus crisis wreaking havoc across the globe.
“The suspicion a lot of people have when Jared steps forward and gets himself involved is what is in it for him?” Reid asked. “Just from your reporting, is there any way that the Kushner conglomerate – he and Ivanka – could be making money off of any of this?”
Johnston responded, “To think that Donald Trump, who has been a grifter his whole life and a con man, aren’t somehow in the family coming up with benefits to this would be naive at the least.”
Reid even suggested that the Trump family will likely try to find a way to enrich themselves off the recently enacted stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed into law by the president.
Corruption? In the rump Administration? Say it ain’t so!