My Cup of IT: Cup Cake for Kushner?

Jared Kushner

As we tilt into this new year in the Federal IT events community, I wanted to point to the absurdity of Federal gift giving regulations.

We all know that industry’s not allowed to give a Fed food and drink worth more than $20 at one time – and no more than $50 in a year.  The General Services Administration says so right here.  Crossing that threshold constitutes bribery.

Try buying any meal for less than $25 in D.C. right now – even without the cup cakes, a simple meal has become expensive, don’t you know…?

I had to chuckle last year when we learned that Jared Kushner, the former president’s son-in-law and a key advisor during his administration, racked up a $2 billion investment from the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund.

That’s one helluva cup cake.

Is it not absurd that regular Federal civil servants are held to one standard, while appointed officials, when they step out of office, can accept whatever payments from whomsoever deems it in their interest to shower largesse?

Maybe it’s time to reform that $20 food and beverage limit to get in line with inflation – and maybe it’s also time to put appointees and their family members on a stricter diet?

Steve O'Keeffe
About Steve O'Keeffe
The most connected executive in the government technology community – O'Keeffe is an accomplished entrepreneur and tech-policy expert, with 30 years’ experience as an innovator at the crossroads of government and industry. He founded MeriTalk, O'Keeffe & Company, 300Brand, among other entities. O'Keeffe is a fixture on the Hill, in both the House and Senate, testifying on IT, budget, government workforce, and the requirement to modernize government IT to enhance outcomes for the American people and government employees. He is a champion for change, simplification, transparency, and clear communication of IT value without jargon. A committed philanthropist, O'Keeffe has served for 15 years on the USO-Metro Board of Directors – Vice Chairman of the Board and Chair of the Annual Awards Dinner. He started his career as a journalist – O'Keeffe has contributed to The Economist, Government Executive, Signal Magazine, The Washington Post, and, of course, MeriTalk.