aside Case Study On How Conflict Of Interests Affects Policy At The White House (Jared Kushner)

 

OpenGov CEO Zachary Bookman, center, spoke at the White House's American Technology Council last month.
OpenGov CEO Zachary Bookman, PHOTO: CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES July 14, 2017
Image result for PHOTOS OF ZACHARY Bookman,
ZACHARY BOOKMAN

“Seated at the rectangular table alongside the corporate luminaries, university presidents and senior White House officials was a less-prominent figure: Zachary Bookman, the 37-year-old CEO of a small startup called OpenGov.”

“Mr. Kushner’s brother, through a venture-capital firm, is a part owner of OpenGov, according to government disclosures and data from Dow Jones VentureSource. Until earlier this year, Mr. Kushner owned stakes in the venture-capital firm that he sold to his brother, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Kushner’s connection to OpenGov isn’t widely known.”

Image result for PHOTOS OF ZACHARY Bookman,

“Many senior Trump administration officials hail from the business world, triggering concerns about potential conflicts between their private interests and public duties. The OpenGov situation—in which a top White House official helped organize a prestigious event where one of the participants was financially connected to his family—is an example of how such potential conflicts can play out.”

 “Prominent technology-industry leaders and venture capitalists gathered in the White House’s state dining room last month to discuss tech policy with President Donald Trump in an event that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, helped organize.”

“Seated at the rectangular table alongside the corporate luminaries, university presidents and senior White House officials was a less-prominent figure: Zachary Bookman, the 37-year-old CEO of a small startup called OpenGov.”

Image result for photos of jared kushner“Mr. Kushner’s brother, through a venture-capital firm, is a part owner of OpenGov, according to government disclosures and data from Dow Jones VentureSource. Until earlier this year, Mr. Kushner owned stakes in the venture-capital firm that he sold to his brother, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Kushner’s connection to OpenGov isn’t widely known.”

“Many senior Trump administration officials hail from the business world, triggering concerns about potential conflicts between their private interests and public duties. The OpenGov situation—in which a top White House official helped organize a prestigious event where one of the participants was financially connected to his family—is an example of how such potential conflicts can play out.”

“Scoring a seat at the summit was a milestone for OpenGov, a Redwood City, Calif. company that aims to make government data more user-friendly and has sought business with the federal government, according to its website. OpenGov’s clients are mostly state and local governments—such as Converse County, Wyo. and California Polytechnic State University—looking to upgrade their technology.”

Image result for PHOTOS OF ZACHARY Bookman,“Mr. Kushner’s connection to OpenGov is through Thrive Capital, a venture-capital firm run by his brother Joshua Kushner. Thrive is one of four investors that OpenGov lists on its website.”

“OpenGov’s Mr. Bookman was the only chief executive of a small firm among the 18 tech leaders to get a seat at the table with the president. At least one other startup CEO had a second-row seat. OpenGov’s valuation was estimated at $180 million after an October 2015 funding round, according to Dow Jones VentureSource, while the average market capitalization of the 14 publicly traded companies represented at the table   including Amazon.com Inc.,Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc. —is about $250 billion, according to FactSet.”

Image result for PHOTOS OF ZACHARY Bookman,“At the event, a video of which was made public, Mr. Trump thanked his son-in-law for assembling “such a spectacular group of people.” Mr. Bookman also praised Mr. Kushner for his work on tech issues. Mr. Trump said the meeting was focused on ways to use technology to make government more efficient.”

“We always advised staff when arranging summits like this to avoid even the appearance of impropriety or preferential treatment,” said Daniel Jacobson, who was counsel to the White House’s information-technology and digital strategy offices in the Obama administration. He said he probably would have advised staff “not to extend the invite or at least to invite other similarly situated companies.”

“It’s particularly interesting and remarkable, in that OpenGov does not have any federal customers and this is a federal initiative,” said Kevin Merritt, founder of Socrata, a Seattle-based rival to OpenGov that works with the federal government and wasn’t invited to the event.”

“Thrive Capital invested in OpenGov in several fundraising rounds dating back to 2013. Jared Kushner was on Thrive’s board at the time, and left in January. OpenGov represents a small part of Thrive’s total investment portfolio, according a person familiar with the matter. The Thrive spokesman declined to say what the value of the investment was.”

“Mr. Kushner’s government financial-disclosure form shows he had stakes in Thrive. It didn’t identify OpenGov.”

“Ethics rules don’t necessarily require such holdings to be disclosed, but some other senior administration officials, such as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, have listed companies held by venture funds they own.”

“Mr. Kushner recently filed an amended disclosure form, which is expected to be released publicly soon, according to people close to him. It will disclose assets that Mr. Kushner didn’t report in his original filing in March, including up to $250,000 of Israeli government bonds he sold earlier this year and an art collection he jointly owns with his wife, Ivanka Trump.”

“The revised form also will show Mr. Kushner’s interest in a real-estate startup called Cadre, they said. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Mr. Kushner is retaining a stake in Cadre and that he hadn’t identified his stake in the company in his initial financial disclosure.”

4 comments

  1. Dear Mz. Gronda,

    One thing that I find not only concerning but amusing in a perverted sense, is that most of tRumps supporters still say he will run our government like a business. This article is yet another example of the misplaced trust that his supporters place in him. How many successful businesses would allow its employees to bring such a degree of questionable ethics to the workplace? Would a well operated business allow anyone in management to bring questionable business practices into view that would have an impact on their bottom line and affect the earnings of that business?

    If Kushner or Donnie Jr. were contestants on the favorite right wing television show, “The apprentice”, how do you think the view of the star of the show would be toward them? Do you think that the words “you’re fired” would have already been heard? Can anyone actually think that in even in the world of fake reality shows that behavior like we have seen from this group of people that make up the current administration would allow them to survive for more than a short period of time before being dismissed in a fit of anger by the host of the show? Might I suggest that if in fact that this is how Mr. tRump feels a business should be run, it might explain why he has had to seek bankruptcy so many times to save his businesses… Is that what his supporters really seek for this nation? If so, it is quite possible they will receive what they wish!

    • Dear Crustyolemothman,

      DDT would not survive in a business with shareholders and accountability. The problem here is that what he has, is a family private business. His sons would not fare well in the real business world if it were not for their Dad. It is not just their sleaziness that would be a hindrance, but they are not bright enough to compete with all the real talent that is out there.

      DDT cannot run the country like he did his business but he is trying.

      Hugs, Gronda

  2. Paraphrasing Strother Martin from “Cool Hand Luke,”

    “What we have hear is a FAILURE to be ethical!” It is becoming painfully clear that his sons and son-in-law have learned cheating is the best path forward. Nicholas Kristof said today it is time to revoke Kushner’s security clearance. He reminded of his “back channel” communication to Mosciw though the Russian embassy. It seems even more nefarious now. Keith

    • Dear Keith,

      The truth is these folks would never think to pause to question the ethics of any action because they are not capable of doing this . It is not in their DNA.
      Hugs, Gronda

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