Startup linked to Kushner got a seat at Trump’s White House roundtable
A startup that is partially owned by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner’s brother was reportedly invited to a White House roundtable that Kushner helped organize in June.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday Friday that the CEO of OpenGov, a government software company which is partially controlled by a venture-capital firm owned by Joshua Kushner, was invited to a White House roundtable event.
The firm, Thrive Capital, is one of four investors listed on OpenGov’s website.
Zachary Bookman, OpenGov’s CEO, attended the roundtable, which was a major breakthrough for the company that had not previously worked with the federal government. He told the Journal that he was invited to the summit because OpenGov is “recognized as an industry leader for our work at the state and local level.”
Prior to the White House meeting, OpenGov’s clients were typically state and local governments, such as California Polytechnic University and Converse County, Wyoming, the Journal reported.
A spokesman for the venture-capital firm owned by Joshua Kushner claimed that the firm wasn’t involved in the roundtable event, and had no knowledge Bookman was participating until after the fact.
Thrive “did not play any role in OpenGov’s invitation, and was not aware of its participation in the meeting until after the fact,” a spokesman told the Journal.
Matt Lira, who works in the White House innovation office, told the Journal that Kushner was not involved in OpenGov’s invitation.
“It was my idea to invite OpenGov to our technology leadership listening session,” Lira told the Journal.
One law professor cited in the report told the Journal that OpenGov’s invitation to the White House was a classic case of favoritism.
“This seems like a textbook example of cronyism in action,” said Kathleen Clark, a Washington University professor.