Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Should Barack Obama Pardon Charlie Kushner?

Today Barack Obama pardoned millionaire developer Ian Schrager for his tax fraud in 1980. While he's at it, he should also probably pardon Charlie Kushner.

Charlie Kushner, of course, is Jared Kushner's father, Jared Kushner is Ivanka Trump's husband, and his loyalty to his father-in-law during the Presidential campaign helped elevate him to the powerful position of Senior Advisor to the President-elect (shudder) Donald J. Trump.

Back in 2005, Charlie Kushner was fined more than half a million dollars by the FEC for illegal campaign contributions (to Democrats) and spent 16 months in prison for those contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering. That witness tampering? Oh, he hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law so he could blackmail him.

Why should Obama pardon Charlie Kushner's misdeeds when his son is in bed with Trump(s)?

1. It's highly likely Trump will do it.

Speculation has swirled that Jared Kushner is out for revenge on those who turned their backs on his family and led to his father's downfall. Reports indicate that he was responsible for pushing New Jersey governor Chris Christie out of Trump's cabinet and transition team (Christie was the prosecutor who went after his father and forced him to take the plea deal). It's almost impossible to fathom Jared getting this far without an interest in securing a pardon for his father, who by all accounts he was close with. By pardoning Kushner before Trump can, Obama takes away any leverage Trump may have over Jared, making sure the newly-elected President can't dangle a pardon in exchange for his son-in-law's acquiescence. Not to mention  he steals Trump's thunder and makes sure that Donald isn't the one who gets to claim he did a great and merciful act for his son-in-law. You know that'll burn Trump, who always wants the credit for everything.

2. Kushner is a longtime loyal Democrat

Until his son married a Trump, and Democratic friends turned their backs on him, Kushner was a steady Democratic donor and ardent supporter of Democratic Party causes. Rewarding him for that loyalty might smooth over the bad blood and help win him and his family back from the dark side (Charlie hosted a fundraiser for Trump last year at the Kushner's seaside estate.)

3. It might help with the Jews.

Despite his unparalleled support for Israel during his Presidency, Barack Obama's reputation has suffered among Jews in this country and abroad due to right-wing propaganda. Why not overturn the narrative by pardoning one of Israel's biggest supporters? Before his conviction, Charlie Kushner, the son of a Holocaust survivor, was one of the world's leading philanthropists for Jewish causes. According to Mark Charendoff, president of the Jewish Funders Network,"If you look at the population of Jewish philanthropists who are committed to the Orthodox world, the Jewish world in general and the broader American community, and then layer on that a deep commitment to the welfare of Israeli society, there’s an awfully short list of people who meet that criteria and have the resources of Charles Kushner.”

Obama has shown that he's not above pardoning millionaires and billionaires who cheated the system. Ian Schrager's philanthropic contributions pale in comparison to Charlie Kushner's.

It's one thing Donald Trump can't publicly bash Obama for doing--and one thing that would certainly piss him off.

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