A startup company that is partially owned by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner’s brother was reportedly offered a seat at a June White House roundtable that Kushner helped organize.
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 roundtable event at the White House.
Thrive Capital, Joshua Kushner’s firm, is one of four investors listed on OpenGov’s website.
The White House roundtable was attended by Zachary Bookman, OpenGov’s CEO, whose company had not previously worked with the federal government. Bookman told the Wall Street Journal that he was invited to the roundtable because OpenGov is “recognized as an industry leader for our work at the state and local level.”
OpenGov’s clients have typically been state and local government entities, such as California Polytechnic University and Converse County, Wyoming.
A spokesman for Thrive Capital said that the firm “did not play any role in OpenGov’s invitation, and was not aware of its participation in the meeting until after the fact.”
Matt Lira, who works in the White House innovation office, reported that Kushner was not instrumental in an invitation to the roundtable being extended to OpenGov.
“It was my idea to invite OpenGov to our technology leadership listening session,” Lira told the Journal.
Kathleen Clark, a professor at Washington University, contended that OpenGov’s invitation to the White House was a classic case of favoritism.
Clark said, “This seems like a textbook example of cronyism in action.”
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