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Jared Kushner Involved In GSA Administrator Search, Rep. Says

White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner

The General Services Administration just canceled its biggest project, the FBI HQ search, as it awaits a permanent administrator. That appointment appears to be on the agenda for President Donald Trump's inner circle.

At a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing Wednesday morning with the GSA's acting administrator, Timothy Horne, a Democratic congressman cited evidence Trump's adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is involved with the decision. 

“Our staff has learned that Mr. Kushner has held discussions regarding candidates for the permanent administrator position,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said.

Following the hearing, a staffer for the Democrats on the committee told Bisnow a confidential source had provided them with the information. 

Democrats on the committee pointed to a March 23 letter from the GSA's contracting officer on the Old Post Office building lease to The Trump Organization, stating the agency understands Kushner planned to recuse himself from participating in matters involving the lease. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) asked Horne if he could confirm the recusal, but the acting administrator could not. 

Nadler suggested such a recusal would bar Kushner from participating in the search for a GSA administrator. 

“How is this activity consistent with his recusal from Old Post Office matters, considering the Old Post Office lease is one of the highest-profile matters in GSA’s portfolio?" Nadler asked. 

Horne said he could not answer because he has no knowledge of Kushner's activities inside the White House. 

Trump's D.C. hotel was a central point of questioning, at least from the Democrats on the committee. The representatives asked Horne why the GSA determined Trump had not violated the lease despite a clause that said no elected official could benefit from the deal. 

Horne said the decision was made by contracting officer Kevin Terry, and he had followed the agency's normal practice in reviewing leases. He declined to give further information behind the decision-making process.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton also pressed Horne on the Old Post Office deal. The congresswoman asked how much revenue the GSA has made on the deal, which allowed Trump to redevelop the federal property into a luxury hotel. She also asked why Congress has not received monthly financial reports of the hotel's earnings. 

Horne said the GSA collects $250K each month from the deal, but he was not aware of monthly earnings reports, only annual filings.

The GSA's cancellation of the FBI HQ search was also a point of questioning from committee members. Horne said the consolidation of the law enforcement agency remains a priority for the GSA, and that he would welcome new approaches to get the project moving again.