Newly minted House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) is now being attacked by liberal media outlets for not profiting off his seven years in Congress, and Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is coming to his defense.
The Florida Republican excoriated a Daily Beast journalist for smugly noting that Speaker Johnson has a modest mortgage and “doesn’t have any retirement savings, own a single stock, or have any assets at all. He has less than $5,000 in his bank account.” Matt Fuller, the Beast’s Washington, D.C. correspondent, linked to a story exploring Johnson’s disclosures which calls his financial position “extraordinarily precarious.”
“The Daily Beast is furious that @SpeakerJohnson isn’t rich, corrupt or rich from being corrupt,” wrote Gaetz on X. “He doesn’t have shady business deals. He doesn’t trade stocks as a congressman.
“Cry more, I guess?” he added with a shrugging emoji.
The Daily Beast is furious that @SpeakerJohnson isn’t rich, corrupt or rich from being corrupt.
He doesn’t have shady business deals. He doesn’t trade stocks as a congressman.
Mike Johnson doesn’t have any retirement savings, own a single stock, or have any assets at all. He has less than $5,000 in his bank account.
He’s got a 250-500K mortgage, a home equity loan, and a personal loan.
So what’s his retirement plan? To lobby? https://t.co/xPzUPqqc4w
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) 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.
So the irony of now going after the leading Republican in Congress for not benefiting may very well be a first among liberal media outlets, with the Beast intent on speculating that Speaker Johnson has a nefarious plan to enrich himself as a lobbyist following his time in office. The outlet interviewed several so-called experts who suggested Johnson could be opening himself up to “influence buying.”
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.