On Sunday, GOP presidential candidate and real estate tycoon Donald Trump did what many do in August on the east coast: he spent a day at the shore with his family. In this case, he was visiting with the in-laws of his daughter Ivanka, Charles and Seryl Kushner, parents to Trumps son-in-law Jared, the owner and publisher of the New York Observer.
This visit was no ordinary social call. The Kushners were hosting an intimate meet-and-greet on Trumps behalf at their seaside estate on the New Jersey shore weeks after injecting $100,000 into Trumps Make America Great Again super PAC.
More than a decade ago Kushner was one of the biggest behind-the-scenes players in New Jerseys real estate-obsessed political establishment. In the early 2000s, through his relatives and companies, Charles Kushner could be personally linked to almost 5% of the donations collected by then-N.J. Gov. James McGreeveys 1997 and 2001 gubernatorial campaigns. He was also the largest single donor to Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Robert Torricelli.
Just weeks later in July 2004, Charles Kushner was indicted by then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and interstate promotion of prostitution (!) for trying to derail a federal investigation Christies office had opened into Kushners political operations during the prior year. It turned out that Charles was concerned about his sisters cooperation with Christies grand jury and decided to blackmail her into silence by hiring a prostitute to seduce her husband. In a Bridgewater, N.J. motel room of the Red Bull Inn (not kidding) equipped with a hidden video camera Charles secretly recorded his brother-in-law in flagrante. Charles then sent the tape to his sister, threatening to make it public unless she stopped cooperating with the feds.
Its now ironic, of course, that Charles Kushner is back in the game supporting the GOP candidate who is nudging Christie out of the race. But family or not, it remains to be seen if even the likes of Donald Trump can afford to carry the baggage that comes with this guy.