President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is also a senior White House advisor, is regularly giving counsel to 2020 Trump campaign leaders on how to appeal to online donors and where to spend their money.
As recently as Thursday, Kushner met with campaign leadership, including campaign chief Brad Parscale, along with Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel.
Kushner and Parscale regularly hold strategy sessions on how to improve messaging about Trump's accomplishments to small-dollar donors, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. Kushner also has pushed for the campaign to spend more money on the digital fundraising operation rather than relying on more traditional methods such as mailers.
Parscale was the campaign's digital director in 2016. Kushner, as an advisor for Trump's first presidential run, had the campaign use Facebook and other social media platforms to make pitches to voters.
At the meeting last week, which took place at the Trump campaign headquarters in Virginia, Kushner was briefed on how the campaign's fundraising strategy has fared in each state throughout the second quarter, these people added. The gathering took place five days before the campaign's filing deadline. While the sources did not elaborate on what Kushner was told, data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics shows the campaign's top donor states are Texas, Florida, California and New York.
An RNC official confirmed Kushner's attendance at the meeting but tried to downplay its importance.
"This meeting was just a general campaign update which included an update from [2020 digital director] Gary Coby on online fundraising. Jared's only comments related to how well he thought everything was going," the aide told CNBC.
The White House declined to comment. The Trump campaign did not return a request for comment.
The campaign announced this week that 98% of the 957,000 individual donations it received in the second quarter came from people giving $200 or less. Trump's three campaign committees and the RNC combined to end the quarter raising over $100 million. Without having to compete in a primary, Trump is dominating Democrats in the overall fundraising game. Pete Buttigieg led Democratic presidential candidates with $24.8 million raised in the second quarter.
Kushner's engagement with the campaign has led Democrats to question whether the president's son-in-law has been violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits White House officials from engaging in some forms of political activity outside the administration.
Reps. Donald Beyer, D-Va., and Ted Lieu, D-Calif., sent a letter last month to the Office of Special Counsel, which enforces the Hatch Act, asking for an investigation. The request came after Kushner reportedly had "multiple daily conversations" with Parscale about the campaign, according to Yahoo, and organized a meeting with top donors, including Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, at the White House, The New York Times previously reported.
Paul Seamus Ryan, a litigator at ethics watchdog Common Cause, told CNBC that unless Kushner has been soliciting donations, he's probably not violating the Hatch Act.
"Legally I think the question is whether he's soliciting contributions or if he's not. If the answer is no, he's probably not violating the Hatch Act," Ryan said. "If he's only giving strategic advice, that's different from soliciting the money."