The first daughter is renting a home from a foreign billionaire who is suing the U.S. government over a mine potentially worth billions of dollars, and it's spurring ethics questions.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are renting a $5.5 million house in a Washington neighborhood from Andrónico Luksic. One of the Chilean billionaire’s companies is fighting the federal government over lost mineral rights leases for a proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Former President Barack Obama'a administration decided not to renew mineral rights for critical to the proposed $2.8 billion Twin Metals project and instead protect the land for the National Wilderness System. The mine is located about 250 miles north of Minneapolis.
Luksic's lawsuit is still pending.
The White House has said the couple is paying fair market value for the home and hasn’t met Luksic nor discussed the mine with him, but Rob Walker, an ethics lawyer at the law firm Wiley Rein, said the arrangement may pose an appearance problem
"Deservedly or not, critics may still question the propriety of entering into any significant transaction with an individual with these apparent interests before the administration," he told the Journal.
President Donald Trump could cancel the Obama administration's protections. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has advocated for increased mining on federal lands.
Luksic bought the Washington home after Trump's election in November, and Ivanka and husband moved in around the time of the inauguration.