Michael Cohen + EB-5 + the Kushners + Lobbyist = More Problems for EB-5

By David North on May 10, 2018

A cynic might suggest that they were made for each other. One element is Michael Cohen, who paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 to be silent about her relations with President Trump, and the other is the often corruption-tainted EB-5 (immigrant investor) program.

Stir in one of the world's most prominent lobbying firms, Squire Patton Boggs, and you have the latest wrinkle in The Adventures of EB-5, according to various news reports.

The EB-5 promoter in this case is the U.S. Immigration Fund (USIF) of Jupiter, Fla., which runs regional centers in California, Florida, New Jersey, and New York. It is one of the larger operations in the business. Other than its supportive role in the visit of Jared Kushner's sister to China on a fund-raising mission, which generated a lot of bad press for the program and for the Kushner family, USIF seems to have steered clear of most of the controversies that have beset the industry.

Michael Cohen, the long-time "fixer" for Trump, finding himself not asked to join the White House staff, turned to big businesses that wanted Trump connections and advice, according to this morning's New York Times. He was paid a $500,000 fee by Squire Patton Boggs to find clients for it; one of the clients he recruited was the U.S. Immigration Fund.

USIF has since terminated its relationship with the Kushners; similarly, Squire Patton Boggs has shut down its arrangements with Cohen.

Disclosure: Many years ago a firm that employed me, TransCentury Corp., had a small contract with the campaign of Tommy Boggs for a U.S. House of Representatives seat in Maryland. Mr. Boggs, both of whose parents served as members of the House (as Louisiana Democrats), and one of whose sisters was at one time the Democratic mayor of Princeton, N.J. (his other sister is journalist Cokie Roberts), wanted the Democratic nomination for Congress in the D.C. suburbs. He lost it, and turned to lobbying instead. He died in 2014.