American Oversight Sues Treasury, DFC for Records on Kushner and Mnuchin’s Middle East Trips

On Thursday, American Oversight sued the Treasury Department and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) for records related to trips that former White House adviser Jared Kushner and former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin took to the Middle East in late 2020 and early 2021. 

Among the records at issue are travel itineraries, reimbursement records, and communications that American Oversight sought in public records requests filed in July 2022 following reports that Kushner and Mnuchin secured billions of dollars from members of the Saudi Arabian government in the form of investments in their new private equity funds.

Just before the 2020 election, Kushner launched the Abraham Fund, a U.S. government-sponsored program purportedly intended to raise $3 billion for projects in the Middle East. Mnuchin promoted the fund’s launch on a trip to the United Arab Emirates and Israel. In the final weeks of the Trump administration, both Kushner and Mnuchin met with Saudi officials, ostensibly to discuss the fund.

Reporting by the New York Times revealed that the Abraham Fund ceased to exist at the conclusion of the Trump administration. Kushner and Mnuchin each launched their own funds after leaving government, and reportedly hired many of the same people who worked on the Abraham Fund to join their private equity funds. Within six months, each had received billion-dollar investments for their new private-sector businesses from a fund led by the Saudi crown prince.

Thursday’s lawsuit seeks to compel communications sent by officials that took part in Kushner and Mnuchin’s trips, as well as any related expense or reimbursement records, and any relevant travel itineraries. Specifically, the suit seeks records from the following trips: 

  • Kushner’s November 30, 2020 trip to Saudi Arabia and Qatar
  • Kushner’s December 21, 2020 trip to Israel and Morocco
  • Mnuchin’s January 5 through January 11, 2021 tour through the Middle East

“These records may shed light on Kushner’s and Mnuchin’s activities in the Middle East, including whether they sought to leverage their leadership roles in the federal government to advance their private business interests,” said Heather Sawyer, executive director at American Oversight. “The Trump administration’s cozy relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman raised questions about who was benefitting from the courtship, and these records have the potential to reveal answers.”

The lawsuit is a part of American Oversight’s continuing efforts to shed light on the Trump administration’s corruption and misconduct. More on American Oversight’s past and present Trump accountability efforts is available here.