Ivanka Trump is using her position in the White House to solicit foreign donations for a new fund that will supposedly benefit women and girls around the globe. But she has not disclosed the specific purpose and structure of the fund, nor any ethical guidelines governing its operation, raising serious concerns about this new venture.
Ivanka Trump "has begun building a massive fund that will benefit female entrepreneurs around the globe," and that "countries and companies will contribute" to the effort, according to a report from Axios. While details about the fund have not been made public, several countries and corporations "have already made quiet commitments."
Trump is working as a special adviser to her father, and while her position is unpaid, her office and its various functions are being financed by taxpayers. After criticism, Trump said she would comply with ethics policies that apply to paid employees.
Trump spoke in Germany in her official capacity on behalf of the White House, and discussed the issues her fund will reportedly address.
WTF? "The problems are identifiable..the solutions and the tactical means to get to the right outcome will differ..This is a robust dynamic" pic.twitter.com/dYdm5EvJvE
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) April 25, 2017
TRUMP: There's a lot of wood to chop, and we're not right there — we're not there yet. And I think one of the interesting things is the problems are identifiable. We know what they look like and they're the same across the globe, just with varying degrees of severity. The solutions and the tactical means to get to the right outcome will differ. And I think one of the great opportunities we have, as we travel, and as we talk to knowledgeable and informed people is to find out what's worked in their countries and cultures. I know that Chancellor Merkel, just this past March, you passed an equal pay legislation to promote transparency and to try to finally narrow that gender pay gap. And that's something we should all be looking at to see the efficacy of that policy as it gets rolled out. So there's a robust dynamic, and an ever-moving discussion.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump's State Department reportedly intends to cut funding for the Office of Global Women's Issues, which works to promote and support women around the world.
The details of Ivanka Trump's fund have not been released publicly, but apparently, she is already soliciting donations for it. This presents yet another ethical black hole, as it is unclear what she has promised foreign entities in exchange for funds, and whether she is soliciting them in her official capacity as a White House adviser. The Trump administration already faces a lawsuit over foreign influence peddling.
Ivanka Trump's solicitation of funds in this manner is a real-world example of what Donald Trump and many Republicans accused Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation of during the presidential campaign. But unlike this new fund, there was considerable transparency with the Clinton Foundation, which was rated "A" by Charity Watch, and had a platinum rating from Guidestar. Daniel Borochoff of Charity Watch told CNN the foundation was "one of the great humanitarian charities of our generation."
There are far more questions than answers about Ivanka Trump's new venture, though. What guidelines are in place to govern who the money influences, or whether donations are being made in exchange for changes in administration policy?
At the same time, the Trump White House continues to be plagued by multiple avenues of corruption, where influence peddling has become commingled with official U.S. government business.
Both Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, continue to play fast and loose with ethical concerns about their White House positions, and the solicitation from foreign entities to fund a vaguely described enterprise founded by the first daughter while working for the White House does nothing to minimize such concerns.