Following Kushner Revelations, Rep. Ruben Gallego Introduces Legislation to Strengthen Security Clearance Vetting for Relatives of the President
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, reintroduced legislation to strengthen the process through which relatives of the President of the United States can obtain security clearances and thus gain access to our government’s most sensitive information.
The bill follows a New York Times report that President Trump ordered officials to grant his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner a top-secret security clearance, overriding concerns and recommendations of U.S. intelligence officials and the White House’s top lawyer.
“The American people have a right to know if a senior adviser to our President has been compromised by foreign governments. That’s why we have to fix the broken review process that allowed Jared Kushner to get a top-secret clearance, despite clear concerns from the F.B.I. and C.I.A. No senior White House official should be able to bypass security checks – no matter who they are related to,” Rep. Gallego said.
The Security Clearance Family Review Act would require the Office of Government Ethics to review applications submitted by family members of the President to determine whether they have substantial commercial relationships with foreign enterprises or financial institutions and, if so, whether a relative should be ineligible for a security clearance as a consequence of such a relationship.
“We need assurances that the President’s family members aren’t vulnerable to foreign financial influence before they are granted access to our government’s most sensitive secrets, and we need to be certain that the President can’t override the better judgement of top intelligence officials. Congress must demand a tough, thorough vetting process before members of the President’s family can get a security clearance,” Rep. Gallego said.
“For two years, I’ve been ringing the bell on Jared Kushner’s abuse of the security clearance process and the poison of nepotism in Donald Trump’s White House. One of our greatest American democratic traditions is that family members of the President don’t use his high office to enrich themselves. Unfortunately, we don’t have any meaningful assurances that this White House is upholding this proud tradition.”
Rep. Gallego originally introduced the bill in May 2017, after it was revealed in the Wall Street Journal that Jared Kushner had omitted significant financial interests from his government disclosure forms, including a stake in a tech start-up and more than $1 billion in loans. It had earlier been reported that Kushner had neglected to include dozens of contacts with foreign officials in his security clearance application.
Yesterday, CNN also reported that President Trump pressured then-chief of staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn to grant his daughter and senior advisor Ivanka Trump a security clearance against their recommendations.