In a recent interview with Fox News, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson was asked about the lack of a bank account appearing in his financial disclosure and gave a very long-winded non-answer.
Mystery of the missing bank account
A prior report by The Daily Beast made it public knowledge that Johnson hadn’t declared a bank account for himself or his family members in the entirety of his seven years working in Congress, nor any valuable assets.
Time for a grilling
Journalist Shannon Bream, citing the financial report, asked Johnson directly about the fact that he had not declared a bank account, saying, “Could you clear that up for us?”
Johnson did anything but clear it up. Instead, he told Bream, “Look, I’m a man of modest means. I was a lawyer, but I did constitutional law, and most of my career has been 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.”
A dodge or a deflection?
He continued not to answer the question, saying, “My father was a firefighter, right? I didn’t grow up with great means. But I think that helps us to be better leaders 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.”
Those in Congress are said to earn about $174,000 annually, but speakers are paid significantly more, around $223,500 a year. His lack of a reported bank or savings account raises questions about where his salary is being deposited and how he’s paying off his bills, mortgage, and children’s tuition fees.
Financial experts concerned
According to experts, Johnson’s lack of a reported bank account brings about concerns for his financial health, especially considering the fact that the speaker has a mortgage and personal loans.
More questions arising
Communications director for the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Jordan Libowitz, shared, “He owes hundreds of thousands of dollars between a mortgage, personal loan, and home equity line of credit, so where did that money go? If he truly has no bank account and no assets, it raises questions about his personal financial wellbeing.”
Just a matter of time
One commenter, certain there’s something fishy going on, wrote, “Where there is smoke, there is fire. Just a matter of time to discovery of something illegal (campaign fraud, funky financials, etc.).”
Not able to believe Johnson’s story, another individual wrote, “There is no way he doesn’t have 5K total across several bank accounts. I can only think he is lying about his bank accounts when he filled in the form. That is the most rational explanation, IMO. That or he keeps a whole lot of cash under his mattress.”
History repeats itself
One person compared Johnson’s actions to those of former politician Dennis Hastert, stating, “There is no non-nefarious explanation for this. Remember Dennis Hastert’s downfall began when suspicious bank account transactions were flagged.”
Suggesting that IRS audits should be mandatory for politicians, someone wrote, “It’s funny how none of these Republicans can stand up to an even cursory inspection of their finances under any amount of investigation, and yet somehow they keep getting elected… It’s getting to the point where an IRS audit should be a requirement to run for the House or Senate. They’re all criminal gangsters.”
A secretive set-up
One person theorized that Johnson could be hiding his money within the church. “My guess is that his pay and campaign contributions go to a tax-exempt church he’s set up, John Oliver style. The church pays his expenses and gives him a stipend.”
The truth must come out
Not accepting Johnson’s confusing answer, someone commented, “This needs to be brought up at every single press interaction this dude has until the truth comes out.” Another insisted, “If there were a simple, innocent response, he would have given it.”
All is not as it seems
Doubting his morals and religious beliefs, one person wrote, “If it weren’t nefarious, he’d answer. Y’know… I’m starting to think he’s not a real Christ-following, law-abiding Christian!”
Where is the money going?
More than one individual had questions regarding his salary. One person pointed out, “Interesting fact—the US government does not give out checks to employees. You must have a direct deposit set up.” Another mused, “I’m sure he gets his congressional salary directly deposited somewhere…”
Time to go
Suggesting that Johnson’s actions are typical of his party, someone wrote, “It’s almost like he’s hiding something. When are we going to eliminate all Republicans?”
Hiding from the world
Convinced that Johnson is hiding his assets, someone else questioned, “How does he pay his routine bills, then? He can’t use cash to pay utilities, etc. This has all the earmarks of a guy who is hiding his assets from everyone.”
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