Listen, we all make mix-ups from time to time when it comes to filling out forms and paperwork. Who among us hasn’t slipped up and incorrectly listed their address or phone number or used the wrong two letter abbreviation for their state? These things happen. I got in an accident the other day and that’s what the police officer told me, that “these things happen.” It didn’t make me feel any better, but it was still slightly reassuring.
Yet here’s where things get slippery though. Most of us aren’t senior advisors to the President of the United States, tasked with creating peace in the Middle East, solving America’s opioid crisis, streamlining the United States government and fending off pesky federal investigations. Yes, most of us aren’t Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Trump. So, for example, when we do something like incorrectly list our gender when we register to vote, it’s not the worst thing in the world, not that big of deal. But when Kushner does it? Well, it’s not ideal.
Wired recently discovered that in his New York voter registration form Kushner’s gender is listed as female. This of course raises some questions, questions that so far Wired has been able to get answered.
Again, if this was someone other than a high-ranking government official, this wouldn’t be that big of a deal. It wouldn’t even be that big of a deal if it was any other high-ranking government official. But it’s note-worthy because it’s Kushner, a man who A) has one of the broadest and most daunting to-do lists ever created and you’d assume that to cross things off said to-do list, a keen attention to detail is required and B) has a history of incorrectly filling out government forms.
The most famous example of Kushner flubbing some government paperwork is of course his disclosure form, which is required to be granted security clearance. According to CBS News, it took Kushner three times to correctly fill out the federal disclosure form, due in large part to him routinely omitting names of foreign contacts.
“The first form had no foreign names on it even though people applying for a security clearance need to list any contact with foreign governments. Kushner’s team said it was prematurely sent.
Then the team submitted the second one after they updated it with all of the names except for one — the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya who met with Donald Trump Jr., Kushner and Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman in June 2016.
After omitting her name in the second form, that meeting was then conveyed to the FBI in the third revamping of the form before July.”
Three times. And it’s not as if after the third time all questions were answered. But that’s for another day.
It’s also worth noting the emphasis that is being placed on stopping voter fraud by the Trump Administration, of which Kushner is a member of. The President has remained adamant in his belief that it’s a massive problem in the country, although it seems to have more to do with dead people allegedly voting and less to do with people incorrectly listing their gender. Still though, not the best of looks to have someone in your own administration in violation of something you are trying to put an end to.
Yet is what Kushner did an actual violation, though?
“There has to be an intent to give the false information,” says Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt. “If he (for some reason) knowingly registered as a woman—for what purpose, I could not guess—that might be described as voter fraud, though it would have negligible effect on the determination of his eligibility, and so wouldn’t amount to much anyway.”
As far as potential legal troubles, it seems like Kushner can rest easy on this one. Still though, his apparent lack of attention to detail could certainly be viewed as concerning. He has a lot to keep track of and one could wonder how he’ll do that if even the simplest of tasks slip him up.
“Kushner can’t even fill out the most basic paperwork without screwing it up, so it’s a mystery why anyone thinks he’s somehow going to bring peace to the Middle East,” says Brad Bainum, a spokesperson for American Bridge.
American Bridge is a liberal opposition research organization. They were the first ones to notice and call attention to Kushner’s apparent mistake. Bainum also asked if it were anyone other than someone working for the President who had committed the mistakes Kushner has, would they be able to do so minus any legitimate repercussions.
That’s a fair question, one Bainum probably won’t like the answer to.