Kushner’s Buyout Firm Hires Former Trump Administration Staffers

Jan 19, 2022


(Bloomberg) -- Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and former senior adviser to former President Donald Trump, is relying on Washington as well as Wall Street to build out the staff of his new private equity firm.

Affinity Partners filed documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last month reporting assets raised, names of several employees and strategies the firm will pursue.

Some of those numbers are already out of date. Affinity now has has more than 20 staff, including four from the Trump Administration, said a person familiar with the firm.

Kushner, who brokered a deal between Israel and several Middle Eastern countries while working in the White House, plans to open an investment office there that will seek regional investments with neighbors in North Africa and the Gulf.

The firm also hopes to capitalize on macro trends, according to its Dec. 23 registration, which was filed under the name A Fin Management.

“Affinity believes that geo-political risks are creating competitive pressure for advanced industrial countries to increase investment in key industries,” including artificial intelligence, cloud computing and digital payments, the firm said in the filing. “Affinity will seek to understand these trends to identify specific markets that it believes can achieve outsized growth.”

Seeking Capital

Kushner, who turned 41 earlier this month, began setting up Affinity Partners in June. The venture has drawn some controversy because Kushner has been seeking capital from some of the Middle Eastern countries that he dealt with in the White House, including Saudi Arabia, according to the New York Times.

Affinity Partners had raised $2 billion by the end of November, according to last month’s filing, which didn’t include details on the investors. The firm plans to update the filing in the next several weeks to reflect additional commitments, which now exceed $3 billion, according to the person.

Kushner hired private equity veterans Bret Pearlman and Asad Naqvi to select investments and negotiate deals for the Sunny Isles Beach, Florida-based firm.

Ian Brekke, who served as deputy general counsel and acting general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security under Trump, replaced Nicholas Butterfield as compliance officer in December. Butterfield, a former deputy White House policy coordinator, still works for the firm.

John Rader, who worked on U.S. trade relations with Mexico and Canada for the Trump administration, became Affinity Partners’ chief operating officer in September, the filing shows. Chad Mizelle, a former assistant counsel to the President, has also been hired, the person said.

Lauren Key, who most recently was as a managing director at Orion Energy Partners, joined Affinity Partners as chief financial officer in October.

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