Stuff to Read

I’m out of time to write today, but here’s the New York Times article you may have heard about, no paywall. If Trump Wins, His Allies Want Lawyers Who Will Bless a More Radical Agenda.

And here’s another tidbit about the deeply weird speaker of the House:

Newly elected Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) does not have a bank account.

At least, that’s what Johnson reports on years of personal financial disclosures, which date back to 2016 and reveal a financial life that, in the context of his role as a congressman and now speaker, appears extraordinarily precarious.

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.

House Ethics Committee filing guidelines state that members must disclose bank accounts they have at every financial institution, as long as the account holds at least $1,000 and the combined value of all accounts—including those belonging to their spouse and dependent children—exceeds $5,000. …

… Jordan Libowitz, communications director for watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, offered a more blunt assessment, saying that if Johnson truly doesn’t have any assets, it “raises questions about his personal financial wellbeing.”

“It’s strange to see Speaker Johnson disclose no assets,” Libowitz told The Daily Beast. “He made over $200,000 last year, and his wife took home salary from two employers as well, so why isn’t there a bank account or any form of savings listed?”

Johnson has also carried debts over for several years, which Libowitz said would sharpen the question.

“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.”

The article goes on to say that the Johnsons have reported about $200,000 annual income for the past several years. They aren’t wealthy, but they shouldn’t be destitute.