White House boosts tax break that's attracted Kushner, Scaramucci and other wealthy investors

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday establishing the White House Opportunity and Revi...

Posted: Dec 13, 2018 6:37 AM
Updated: Dec 13, 2018 6:37 AM

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday establishing the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, designed to boost investment in low-income communities via a tax break passed last year.

Among those who have moved to take advantage of the program are close Trump allies -- and even members of his own family.

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The list includes Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner through his stake in the investment firm Cadre, which is worth as much as $25 million, according to Kushner's most recent disclosure forms. Cadre recently announced that it was soliciting investments in so-called "opportunity zones," though it's not clear whether it has yet begun investing or will claim the program's tax benefits.

Kushner's family real estate firm Kushner Companies could also benefit from the program.

The company and associated entities, which already owned properties in a New Jersey area that was designated this year as an opportunity zone, have spent more than $13 million buying new properties that would be eligible for the tax break, according to Monmouth County public records.

Kushner and his wife, first daughter and White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump, actively supported the passage of the Republican-backed tax cut last year. While Ivanka Trump doesn't hold a direct stake in Cadre or Kushner Companies, her finances are intertwined with her husband's.

She attended the signing event on Wednesday and has been involved in promoting the opportunity zone program, participating in a White House round table earlier this year with business executives and elected officials including South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott, who also attended Wednesday's signing event. Trump announced the council will be led by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, while Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will both "serve and play a critical role in its work."

There's no evidence that Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump or other top administration officials had a role in the designation of any opportunity zones, which are determined at the state level.

The legislation allows investors to defer taxes on capital gains if they're reinvested in a real estate project or business located in one of nearly 9,000 qualified census tracts. Any capital gains from those investments will be untaxed if they're held for more than 10 years, a tax giveaway worth $7.7 billion through 2022, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci's investment firm Skybridge Capital is raising a $3 billion fund to invest in opportunity zones, according to the National Council of State Housing Agencies, which is tracking opportunity zone investment funds.

Skybridge confirmed the fund but declined further comment. Scaramucci did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Cadre and Kushner Companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Goldman Sachs and other major investors have also lined up to take advantage of the new tax break.

The White House did not comment.

Ivanka Trump wrote in a series of tweets Wednesday that the program will benefit "distressed urban + rural communities."

"All Americans, regardless of zip code, should have the opportunity to experience the American dream," she also wrote. "Opportunity Zones will catalyze private sector investment that will create jobs + economic growth in overlooked communities nationwide."

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