Biden Wins, Ethics Legislation Loses 

Jonah Elkowitz /
Jonah Elkowitz /

In another “do as I say, not as I do” moment of breathtaking hypocrisy, the Biden administration has been working behind the scenes to derail legislation designed to create accountability in government. The Presidential Ethics Reform Act would require that presidents and vice presidents reveal any foreign payments, loan deals, and tax returns from two years before their term, during their term, and for two years after their term. According to the bill, they would also have to report any gifts over $10,000 given by or to their immediate family. 

Democrats were considering the legislation a “win,” especially as it relates to former President Donald Trump and allegations that he used his office for personal profit. Democratic lawmakers have made a career of investigating alleged foreign investments of former President Donald Trump’s family members, especially since he refused to release his tax returns.  

However, Democrats quickly realized that the proposal would damage President Biden even more. The legislation requires presidents and vice presidents to disclose their tax returns, any conflicts of interest, and income from foreign sources, including their relatives. 

Tucked into the bill’s language is a particularly damaging clause that concerned Biden allies – executives must reveal if their family members receive foreign payments, expensive gifts, and loans. Additionally, presidents and vice presidents must note when their immediate family members travel with them on official trips and indicate if it’s for business reasons. 

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) and Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) met in a rare show of bipartisanship to introduce the Presidential Ethics Reform Act. Both lawmakers pledged to garner support from their parties to move the bill forward.  

The proposed legislation seemed slated for success until three Democrats suddenly withdrew support for it the night before it was introduced. According to Porter, support for the bill crumbled after the White House contacted several Democrats. Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), and Kweisi Mfume (D-MD) subsequently defected. 

Mfume said he wanted more bipartisan effort, while Khana admitted that the legislation could be used to “cudgel the president.” Both lawmakers deny that the White House influenced them, but all three expressed concern that the broad bill could be used to “unfairly” target Biden and his family just ahead of the 2024 election. 

Porter stated that she and Comer did a lot of publicity for the bill and emphasized that it is not targeting any future president but is about establishing proper rules to restore trust in the executive branch. 

However, transparency and accountability this close to the 2024 election would cause Biden even more reelection nightmares. For example, the bill would require presidents to detail any loans to family members and document when immediate relatives travel with the president on Air Force One, specifying if the travel was for business purposes. Republicans brought up these issues after Biden, as vice president, loaned money to his brother and had his son travel with him on official trips. 

Despite being abandoned by three pledged Democratic co-sponsors, Porter thinks the bill will receive enough bipartisan support to pass. 

While the bill’s intention was not to target or “punish” anyone, Comer’s investigation into the Biden family’s corrupt business dealings could use some transparent disclosure. Comer has faced roadblocks for months in garnering enough facts to present an airtight case against Biden. This legislation would offer the transparency necessary to prove the case. 

For three Democrats to suddenly realize, the night before the legislation was introduced, that the bill didn’t quite fit their expectations is more than a little coincidental. Porter revealed the true motivations behind the defection, saying, “I was really disappointed to learn that those co-sponsors had decided not to support the bill and had had conversations with the White House.” 

In addition to Biden’s corrupt connections to sketchy business deals through his son, Hunter Biden will soon face tax charges based mainly on the income from his ill-gotten gains from foreign sources. Should the legislation pass, these connections will be laid bare for the nation to see. There would be no doubt that the “unfounded allegations” Comer has uncovered during his Biden probes are based on fact.