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Trump’s Small Biz Rescue Bailed Out Kushner’s Family, Obama’s Aides and Other Political Elite

Trump’s Small Biz Rescue Bailed Out Kushner’s Family, Obama’s Aides and Other Political Elite

When the Trump administration began implementing a trillion-dollar program to bail out struggling employers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a central concern was that the president would use the program to benefit his friends and allies.

It turns out that Trump’s pals weren’t the ones catching the windfall so much as Washington D.C.’s well-off and well-connected in general. Among the entities cashing six to seven-figure checks from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program in recent months were a fiscal responsibility advocacy organization run by anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, a high-powered consulting firm run by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, the nonprofit headed by former Trump campaign official David Bossie, and a political strategy firm linked to two alumni of the Obama White House who’ve turned anti-Trump podcasting into a lucrative enterprise. 

Businesses tied to the president’s son-in-law as well as members of Congress got taxpayer funds. As did the elite D.C.-area schools where both President Trump and President Obama enrolled their children: St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, where Barron Trump is a student, got between $2 million and $5 million, and Sidwell Friends School, where both Obama children graduated high school, got between $5 million and $10 million. 

On Monday, the Treasury Department finally released the name of everyone who received a loan greater than $150,000 through the PPP. The disclosure does not cover loans below that amount, nor does it specify the exact amount that each organization received. In the months before Monday’s loan disclosure, certain companies and entities—sensing the possibility of negative publicity—announced their receipt of loans and, more often than not, that they were returning them. The media company Axios, for example, proactively announced it had applied for and received a PPP loan, and then said it was returning those funds after taking criticism.

Other outlets had no such compunctions. Records show $350,000 to $1 million went to Observer Holdings LLC, the parent entity of Observer Media—the publishing company formerly owned by White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner. Kushner resigned from the news organization before decamping to Washington, D.C. in 2017, but it has remained in the family: Joseph Meyer, wedded to Kushner’s sister Nicole, lists it among the holdings of his Observer Capital investment firm. The federal assistance preserved 41 jobs, according to the SBA.

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