Federal watchdog calls for investigation into Kushner’s shadow coronavirus task force: Apparent 'conflicts of interest’

Federal watchdog calls for investigation into Kushner’s shadow coronavirus task force: Apparent 'conflicts of interest’
Image via Screengrab.

A prominent federal government watchdog organization is calling for an investigation into Jared Kushner’s shadow coronavirus task force, charging the legal authority for its very existence is “unclear,” and alleging its members “appear to have violated federal conflicts of interest and transparency laws.”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, better known as CREW, has sent a 9-page letter to the Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics requesting the investigation.

CREW says many members of Kushner’s task force are “drawn from private industries with ties to the administration,” and “are private sector individuals with massive financial interests,” who “appear to be subject to no oversight, leaving the public in the dark about whether they are acting in our best interests or their own.”

The organization is expressing concern over activities Kushner’s group is engaged in, including, “Interacting with vendors on behalf of FEMA to buy medical supplies,” “Expanding the government’s use of individual patient data to create a national coronavirus surveillance system,” “Issuing orders to the official coronavirus task force,” “Issuing orders to health agencies,” and “Directing agencies to take specific actions, such as the delivery of medical equipment to states they designate.”

CREW also notes the “full composition of the task force … has not been made publicly available,” but among its members are “his former roommate.”

Federal officials have “called this team a ‘shadow task force’ that issues requests ‘they interpret as orders they must balance with regular response efforts.'”

Read CREW’s full letter here.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.