WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Epidemiological Surveillance is raising the possibility of a link between President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and a $ 700 million relief loan to a struggling trucking company.
Kushner raised the issue at a hearing on Thursday with Bharat Ramamurthy, a Democrat member of the four-member Congress Oversight Commission, as committee members from both parties challenged the decision of the Treasury Department to extend the YRC globally. The taxpayer-funded loan was made on the basis that the company’s operations were important for maintaining national security.
Team members questioned the decision to consider the YRC’s business as important to national security. This is the first and largest loan made under the National Security Division of the Treasury Department’s Corporate Assistance Program, which has lent billions to major airlines and small airlines.
The ORC separately borrowed $ 600 million from Apollo Global Management and several other lenders last year, organized by Apollo, a large private equity firm, which is the ORC’s largest lender, the oversight panel said. Apollo co-founder Joshua Harris advised the Trump administration on infrastructure policy in early 2017 and met with Kushner, who will be an adviser to the president. Later that year, Ramamurthy was quoted in a New York Times report as saying that he had lent $ 184 million to Apollo Kushner’s family real estate company to help refinance its mortgage on the Chicago building.
Ramamurthy asked Treasury Secretary Steven Munuchin if he had any contact with Kushner or his staff regarding the YRC loan. Munuchin said he was not. Ramamurthy later expanded the demand for correspondence with anyone in the White House.
“This guarantees further investigation,” Ramamurthy said. Apollo called YRC’s lender “the fastest-tracking, most generous loan” he has ever made to the YRC.
The Associated Press had no immediate comment on the matter from Kushner or his staff.
“Apollo was not involved in the decision to seek treasury funding (ORC),” Apollo spokeswoman Jonah Rose said Thursday. “We are a capital provider to thousands of companies. We are one of the many lenders to the YRC. It is not a company that owns or controls our finances.”
Congressional observers have found that taxpayers could lose money on a $ 700 million investment. The YRC had financial problems for many years and was at risk of bankruptcy before the outbreak.
Munuchin said the YRC meets the criteria for companies that are considered essential to national security because the Treasury Department works closely with the Department of Defense and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
He acknowledged that if the YRC failed, taxpayers would lose money if they did not repay it. “This is a risky loan,” Munuchin said, but he added, “We are lucky to have the economy back on track … with the best possible compensation for the treasury and taxpayers in the end.”
Munuchin noted that before the loan was approved this summer, many lawmakers had asked the Treasury Department to help the YRC save jobs.
French Hill, a member of the board of former bankers, told R-Arc, Munich, “If I were still in the fund, I would not have made this loan.”
Based in Kansas’ Overland Park, the YRC provides transportation and logistics services such as food, electronics and other supplies to military bases across the country. The Department of Defense is a major YRC customer who is a leading Department of Homeland Security transportation provider.
The National Security portion of the Treasury’s corporate assistance program, available for up to $ 17 billion, was expected to be earmarked for hard-press aircraft maker Boeing or General Electric earlier this year. They were able to tap the private credit markets and not seek government help.
To qualify for National Security Assistance, companies must operate under the highest national priority security agreements or operate under a top secret security permit. The YRC did not explicitly meet any of the criteria, but qualified under the “Catsall” rule, which allows for adequate recommendation and certification from the Secretary of Defense or the Director of National Intelligence.
A four-member oversight commission was appointed by congressional leaders from both parties last spring to oversee the spending of about $ 2 trillion on economic aid, which was passed by Congress and passed by the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve.