Kushners' Harvard 'donation' just a legal version of celebrity college admissions-buying scam: reports
Jared Kushner appears on CNN with Van Jones/Screenshot

Reports detailing the ways the rich and famous paid to have their children admitted to college reminded two national security experts of similar — yet legal — tactics allegedly used by Jared Kushner to get into Harvard University.


In November 2016, after Donald Trump was elected, ProPublica's Daniel Golden detailed the "curious" way Kushner was admitted to Harvard — and in the aftermath of the criminal charges brought against figures like actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman over the alleged scheme, the report has gained new significance.

In the 2016 article, Golden detailed how the president's son-in-law was not considered Harvard material by his teachers — but that he got in via the mechanisms used by "the rich [to] buy their under-achieving children’s way into elite universities with massive, tax-deductible donations."

In 1998, the report noted, Kushner's father Charles made a multi-million dollar donation to the Ivy League school — and the president's son-in-law was admitted soon after.

After Trump's bombastic advisor Kellyanne Conway tweeted about Loughlin and Huffman's indictments in the alleged college admissions scam, national security lawyer Bradley Moss poked fun at her using the reports about Kushner.

"I look forward to you supporting a probe into how Jared got into Harvard," he tweeted.

In a CNN panel discussion on the alleged scam that implicated 50 people, Brookings Institution senior fellow Susan Hennessy noted those practices are unethical even when they're technically legal.

"The scandal here is not just what's illegal — it's also what's legal," Hennessy told the panel led by host Wolf Blitzer, "It's that incredibly wealthy people make large donations to elite universities all of the time for students to be admitted."

"Jared Kushner, for example, by all reports, lacked the test scores and grades to be admitted to Harvard University," she added. "His family pledged a $2.5 million donation and he was admitted to the university."

"Even though that's totally legal, it's completely playing by the rules, I think that we should acknowledge that we are talking about the same behavior," Hennessy concluded.

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