It isn’t just meetings with Russians that Senior White House Advisor and Presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has conveniently forgotten until he was nudged to own up to his actions.
Now he also turns out to have “forgotten” about his multi-million dollar art collection.
It isn’t like Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump have been hiding the art.
Ivanka has often pictured herself on Instagram (which she says is her favorite social media platform) in her $4 million New York City apartment showing off millions of dollars worth of art she and Kushner have collected since 2009.
She has even used the art as a backdrop for promotions for products from her various consumer product lines.
However, when Kushner filled out government disclosure forms for himself and his wife after they were given major White House jobs by her fathers, he didn’t include any of the millions in art.
Now after being asked about the omission of a very significant art collection by Art News, a spokesman for Kushner says he will add it to his Government Ethics Office disclosure filings at some unspecified time in the future.
In a White House and cabinet full of billionaires, the Kushners are not the only art collectors. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has disclosed art worth about $150 million, and Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whose father Robert is a prominent New York City art dealer, also listed art he owns, in some cases subsequent to his initial disclosure filing.
A lawyer for the Kushner’s told Art News that the collection was not disclosed because it is “for decorative purposes” and they have “made only a single sale.”
Under the law, art that is collected but never sold can be considered for decoration and does not have to be treated as an investment asset, which is required to be listed on the disclosure form.
“To avoid any doubt, however,” added Kushner’s lawyer, “they will report their art collection.”
Their collection including works by “blue chip and emerging artists,” reports Art News, includes “Alex Israel, Dan Colen, Nate Lowman, Alex Da Corte and David Ostrowski.”
It may be true they have not actively bought and sold, which by legal rules would make all their art an investment subject to disclosure, but Ivanka regularly uses the art in the background of her business and promotional photos taken in their apartment as part of an effort to humanize her, so that makes it a business asset.
In one instance, Ivanka was pictured showing off a Trump brand Mara Bag with a Christopher Wool painting in the background.
A former art director for Ivanka Trump’s brand, Katie Evans, posted on her social media, according to Art News, that shooting in her apartment surrounded by her art and possessions was part of a strategy to “weave in our contents nad products in an authentic way while still incorporating [Ivanka] as a person.”
Shortly after the inquiry from Art News, Evans removed the text and declined any further comment.
An ethics expert, Craig Holman of the watchdog group Public Citizen, told Art News that if art is being used to promote business interests, “It should be fully disclosed.”
Kushner has made other omissions. The Wall Street Journal, notes Art News, said last month that Kushner had failed to disclose his stake in a real estate finance start-up he co-founded with his brother Joshua; and didn’t disclose at least $1 billion in loans from more than 20 lenders on properties and companies he co-owns.
In April it came out that Kushner had also failed to disclose on forms seeking a national security clearance encounters with foreign government officials over the past seven years. That included “a December meeting with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak,” the New York Times reported, “and one with the head of a Russian state-owned bank.”
Kushner’s rep said at that time he would get around to adding those meetings to his disclosure form when he got around to it.
The government isn’t the couple’s only critic. In a 2015 Instagram photo, reports Vanity Fair, Ivanka “posed in her hallway in front of a framed piece by Alex Da Corte.
Da Corte left a comment: “Please get my work off your walls. I am embarrassed to be seen with you.”
The couple has not disclosed whether or not they granted Da Corte’s request.
The failure to disclose his art collection appears to be a minor issue for Kushner, who is now being investigated for connections to Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign and for other activities.
If he does get kicked out of government, at least Kushner can go home and gaze at his works of art. Unfortunately, however, if he is sent to jail, he won’t be able to take any of the art along to decorate his cell.