According to reports on Wednesday afternoon, presidential son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner is registered to vote as a woman, according to public records in the state of New York. Basically, whenever Kushner last registered to vote, he apparently ticked the box for "female," a fact that Democratic opposition research firm American Bridge was the first to notice and publicize.
A spokesperson for the group told Wired this week that the mix-up is symptomatic of Kushner's various paperwork problems:
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. Would anyone but the president's son-in-law still have a West Wing job after repeated disclosure errors and a botched a security clearance form?
Kushner, 36, has found himself in hot water over his filling out of important government forms, mainly his application for a security clearance. According to reporting from multiple outlets, his form ― the SF-86, with the SF standing for "standard form" ― was incomplete, missing important details about his foreign contacts. Kushner was ultimately forced to go back and amend his previous filing to include the omitted info.
This isn't the only Kushner-related headline to burst onto the scene this week, although it's definitely the more lighthearted and relatively concern-free of the two. While it's definitely embarrassing to admit you filled out a pretty simple form incorrectly, that's nothing compared to being sued over allegations of predatory overcharging of tenants in your properties.
According to The Daily Beast, Kushner is now facing exactly such a lawsuit, a class action suit alleging that his company charged tenants bogus fees, then used non-payment of the fees as a threat of eviction. (Kushner's spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast's request for comment.) Suffice to say that's a bit more serious than which box you check on the "gender" section of your voter registration form. One tenant involved in the suit, identified as Tenae Smith, said this about Kushner's property company:
I work full-time and made regular payments, but they kept taking me to court for eviction and piling on the fees. I just want to keep my family safe and stable as the kids go back to school.
In short, Kushner's getting a lot of press this week, and not of the sort he's likely to want. It's also worth noting that the investigation in Russian interference in the 2016 election, conducted by former FBI director and current independent counsel Robert Mueller, is reportedly also examining some of Kushner's finances and dealings. It's fair to say that's a headline absolutely nobody wants to see about themselves.
As far as Kushner's voter registration forms are concerned, however, it seems less like a serious affair and more like a weird, slightly amusing, relatively irrelevant example of a potentially problematic habit. In other words, it might not be the biggest deal, but it speaks to an apparent trend.
However else you feel about Kushner and the Trump administration, after all, it's definitely valuable to know you can count on a government official ― in this case, a White House adviser who got the job by marrying into the president's family ― knows how to fill out a government form. Especially an official who currently still possesses a security clearance, and is thus privy to some of the most sensitive information any American can receive.
That is not, from the looks of things, something the country can assume about Kushner, however. You need look no further than his New York voter registration, and his SF-86 controversy, for a little proof of that.