What’s Up With Mike Johnson’s Very Shady-Seeming Financial Disclosures?

In the week since Mike Johnson was elected Speaker of the House, we’ve learned a tremendous amount about the Louisiana Republican, and virtually none of it has been good. For instance, the man the GOP just elevated to one of the most powerful jobs in the federal government tried to help Donald Trump steal a second term, is virulently antiabortion, thinks America doesn’t have a gun problem, very possibly does not believe in evolution, definitely doesn’t believe in separation of church and state, has claimed homosexuality is “sinful” and “destructive,” and is married to someone who founded a company that equates being gay with bestiality and incest. And now, for something totally different, we’ve learned the new House Speaker…doesn’t have any bank accounts listed on his financial disclosure forms.

The Daily Beast reports that in financial disclosures dating back to 2016, the year he joined Congress, Johnson never reported having a savings or checking account in his name, his spouse’s name, or in the name of any of his children. In his latest filing, which covers last year, he doesn’t list a single asset either. Which, given that he made more than $200,000 last year—in addition to his wife’s salary—is more than a little odd.

As reporter Roger Sollenberger notes, it‘s unlikely that Johnson literally does not have any sort of bank account, and that he’s, like, stuffing his money in a mattress. Rather, the most probable explanation is that the Speaker lives paycheck to paycheck, and the money he does have in various accounts doesn’t meet the reporting threshold set by the House Ethics Committee; members must disclose any accounts, at any financial institution, that has at least $1,000 in them and a combined value of more than $5,000. (Accounts belonging to members’ spouses and dependent children count toward that minimum.) And while it’s a fact that most Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and that about a third would not have the money on hand to cover an unexpected $400 expense, when it comes to Johnson, the numbers don’t really add up.

Per The Daily Beast:

Johnson’s household income puts him in the top 12% of earners in the United States. And it’s extraordinarily rare for members of Congress to not list a qualifying bank account—let alone zero assets whatsoever.… Brett Kappel, a government ethics expert at Harmon Curran, told The Daily Beast it would be “very unusual for a member not to have to disclose at least one bank account.”

Jordan Libowitz, communications director for watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, offered a more blunt assessment, saying that if Johnson truly doesn’t have any assets, it “raises questions about his personal financial wellbeing.”

“It’s strange to see Speaker Johnson disclose no assets,” Libowitz told The Daily Beast. “He made over $200,000 last year, and his wife took home salary from two employers as well, so why isn’t there a bank account or any form of savings listed?” Johnson has also carried debts over for several years, which Libowitz said would sharpen the question. “He owes hundreds of thousands of dollars between a mortgage, personal loan, and home equity line of credit, so where did that money go?” Libowitz said. “If he truly has no bank account and no assets, it raises questions about his personal financial wellbeing.”

As Libowitz explained, “One of the reasons we have these financial disclosures is to know whether politicians are having financial difficulties—which could make them ripe for influence buying.” Which apparently is just one of the many things to be concerned about when it comes to the new House leader.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *