A hit piece by a liberal media outlet against House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has backfired spectacularly after it accused the Republican leader of having no personal wealth and intimating he plans to leverage his time in Congress to become a wealthy lobbyist in his later years.
On Wednesday the Daily Beast released a story titled “Does New Speaker of the House Mike Johnson Have a Bank Account?” which raised questions about his thin ethics disclosures relating to stocks, assets, and debts. Johnson has no retirement income to speak of, the author writes, concluding the article by interviewing so-called ethics experts to suggest the Louisiana lawmaker is open to “influence buying” by special interests.
“Cry more,” wrote Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) in response to the article, leading others to pile on.
“So he can relate to the struggles that we’re all out here having? I’m supposed to be angry at this?” wrote podcaster Joey Mannarino.
So he can relate to the struggles that we’re all out here having?
I’m supposed to be angry at this?
— Joey Mannarino (@JoeyMannarinoUS) November 1, 2023
Maybe, just maybe, he's not dirty? I wonder if they've considered that.
— Sean Gatton (@SeanGatton) November 1, 2023
Speaker Johnson literally represents most Americans.
— TheAbeFroman (@followed_ByBots) November 1, 2023
“This is hilarious. We’re no longer going after the ones that have become multimillionaires while public servants, we’re now going after the ones that aren’t. God forbid someone in that Office has actual morals & ethics!” writes another Gaetz follower.”
This is hilarious. We’re no longer going after the ones that have become multimillionaires while public servants, we’re now going after the ones that aren’t. God forbid someone in that Office has actual morals & ethics!
— Southern FFA Family (@FFAFamily) November 1, 2023
No matter the political party, members of Congress regularly see their net worth increase while in office though they are required to report on every dollar they see during that time. Ethics rules require members like Speaker Johnson to report income, taxes paid, and the holding and trading of stocks. The latter requirement has entangled members in the past including former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a prolific stock trader who has passed legislation relating to companies in which she held a financial stake.
Democrats have already attempted to fundraise off of Speaker Johnson’s election, sending out a flurry of fundraising appeals in the subsequent days suggesting the Louisiana Republican will attempt to repeal LGBT rights or further erode abortion protections since the overturning of Roe v. Wade. A number of Republicans in swing districts are expected to face challenging reelections next year, though Speaker Johnson already produced Republicans’ best fundraising week of the cycle, a sign that his leadership may provide incumbents with outsized war chests for the months ahead.
Speaker Johnson so far hasn’t commented on the hit piece or criticism of him as a “scary” Christian, instead letting his work speak for him. On his first day, Johnson introduced legislation to meet President Joe Biden’s $100 million request for assistance to Israel, but instead of putting the cost onto the backs of future generations he proposed paying for the massive package by clawing back funding Biden previously directed to bolster the ranks within the IRS. He has also indicated he plans to move full steam ahead with the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Biden.