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Friday, September 21, 2018

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

Unnamed officials told Newsweek that President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and husband Jared Kushner used a helicopter owned by a Trump business for a personal vacation. Their use of the private aircraft “blurs the line” between the White House and the Trump family’s personal business interests, according to the officials, and appears to be unethical.

Former President George W. Bush’s ethics chief Richard Painter explained to Newsweek that taxpayers were probably shouldering a portion of the couple’s vacation bill.

“Taxpayers are paying for Secret Service to accompany Ivanka and Jared on their trips and vacations. Because they choose to use a Trump Organization aircraft, you’ve got the problem we’ve been dealing with all along: the government is paying the Trump Organization to protect the first family, when it shouldn’t be.”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington cited conflict of interest in condemning public officials’ use of private planes to the publication.

“Jared and Ivanka’s use of a Trump Organization helicopter for their personal use blurs the line between the White House and the family business,” Virginia Canter, CREW’s executive branch ethics counsel, told Newsweek.

Painter said the couple’s aircraft usage is “fundamentally a tax law issue, and it may actually be part of what’s holding the president’s tax returns up in audit.”

Chris Sosa is a managing editor at AlterNet. His work also appears in Mic, Salon, Care2, Huffington Post and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisSosa.