Mike Johnson’s failure to provide a straight answer to his lack of a bank account disclosure raises more questions about his finances.
Over the course of seven years, Johnson has never reported a checking or savings account in his name, nor in the name of his wife or any of his children, disclosures show. In fact, he doesn’t appear to have money stashed in any investments, with his latest filing—covering 2022—showing no assets whatsoever.
Of course, it’s unlikely Johnson doesn’t actually have a bank account. What’s more likely is Johnson lives paycheck to paycheck—so much so that he doesn’t have enough money in his bank account to trigger the checking account disclosure rules for members of Congress.
But Johnson’s household income, more than $200,000 a year puts him in the top 12 percent of U.S. earners, The Daily Beast reports. The fact that he has no bank account and no assets to report is a red flag, Jordan Libowitz, of the watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told The Daily Beast:
“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.”
That fact, he said, could be seen as a vulnerability to exploit.
“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,” Libowitz said.
Today, on Fox News Sunday, host Shannon Bream asked Johnson about his disclosures, or lack thereof. “Can you clear that up for us?” she asked.
Maybe he can, but he didn’t. Even worse, he deflected:
JOHNSON: Yes, look, I'm a man of modest means, OK? I was a lawyer, but I did constitutional law. And most of my career I’ve spent in the nonprofit sector. We have four kids, five now that are very active and I have kids in graduate school, law school, undergraduate. We have a lot of expenses. But I can relate to everybody else. My father was a firefighter, right? I didn't grow up with great means. But I think that helps us be a better leader because we can relate to every hard working American family. That's who we are. And I think it governs and helps govern my decisions and how I lead.
The fact that Johnson dodged the question should have been another red flag. But Bream acted as though her question had been answered. “Well, the majority of Americans now say they're living paycheck to paycheck, so a lot of folks in the same boat as they try to figure out this economy,” she said.
Sure, $200,000 a year may not be what it used to be, and I’m sure Bream earns a lot more than that, but it seems odd, to say the least, that Johnson, his wife and dependent children have never had more than $5,000 in combined assets at the end of reporting periods, which is the reporting requirement.
In short, Johnson’s answer rang about as true as his claim that the reason he tied aid to Israel with slashing funds for the IRS to go after wealthy tax cheats was because Republicans are “operating in a [fiscally] responsible manner,” as he said earlier in the same interview.
Yet Johnson dodged another Bream question when she asked about the Congressional Budget Office’s finding that Johnson’s cuts to the IRS will add billions to the deficit.
“Look, only in Washington can you cut funding, add a pay-for to a new spending measure, and they say it's terrible for the deficit,” Johnson swerved.
You can watch super-duper-Christian Johnson slither his way through this interview below, from the November 5, 2023 Fox News Sunday.