Mike Johnson bucks trend of House speakers owning high-dollar assets: ‘Man of the people’

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Newly elected GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson’s financial portfolio represents a substantial divergence from his predecessors who owned millions of dollars in assets and actively traded stocks.

According to Johnson’s most recent annual financial disclosure report filed in August, he doesn’t own any stocks and reported only liabilities — a 2013 home mortgage worth up to $500,000, a personal loan of up to $50,000 from 2016 and a home equity line of credit of up to $50,000 he secured in 2019. 

Johnson’s disclosures, though, were scrutinized, and a reporter raised questions about the new speaker’s financial health.

Jordan Libowitz, an ethics expert, was quoted recently saying Johnson’s disclosure was ‘strange’ and could make him ‘ripe for influence buying,’ while Brett Kappel, a government ethics expert at Harmon Curran, added it was ‘very unusual for a member not to have to disclose at least one bank account.’

But Johnson’s financial situation appears to closely mirror that of a large share of Americans, according to Federal Reserve survey data. Survey data from 2019 concluded that the median account balance for American households is $5,300, and data from 2020 showed just 64% of Americans had enough money readily available to pay for a $400 emergency.

‘For years, we’ve heard calls and demands for members of Congress to look more like the people they represent,’ Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla., a close Johnson ally, told Fox News Digital. ‘Today, we have a speaker who is not independently wealthy, who does not own or trade stocks and, per House financial reporting disclosures rules, is not required to disclose his federal employee retirement funds.

‘It’s clear now with Speaker Johnson at the helm that the people’s House is run by just that — a man of the people,’ she continued. ‘I find it deeply hypocritical that Democrats and the leftist media are upset about Speaker Johnson when their own former Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a multimillionaire.’

A spokesperson for Johnson, R-La., shared social media posts from other GOP lawmakers defending Johnson in response to a Daily Beast article.

‘So, to extent accurate, he’s like a lot of Americans right now while also navigating raising a large family? What a monster,’ Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, wrote.

‘The Daily Beast is furious that [Speaker Johnson] isn’t rich, corrupt or rich from being corrupt. He doesn’t have shady business deals. He doesn’t trade stocks as a congressman. Cry more, I guess?’ Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., added.

Johnson’s disclosure, meanwhile, greatly differs from those filed by recent House speakers. 

For example, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reported in his 2022 disclosure he owned up to $800,000 in various assets, including mutual funds traded on the market. He also reported liabilities worth up to $350,000 that include a mortgage and a student loan for one of his children.

McCarthy’s predecessor, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., reported in her most recent annual report owning millions of dollars in assets, including various individual stocks. For example, she owns as much as or more than $1 million in Google, Amazon, American Express, Apple, Comcast, Microsoft, Netflix, Salesforce and the Walt Disney Company.

Pelosi, whose net worth is estimated to exceed $100 million, according to Open Secrets, also reported multiple million-dollar financial transactions, activity that led to Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., introducing the so-called Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments (PELOSI) Act, which would prohibit members of Congress and their spouses from holding or trading individual stocks.

‘For too long, politicians in Washington have taken advantage of the economic system they write the rules for, turning profits for themselves at the expense of the American people,’ Hawley said in January.

‘As members of Congress, both senators and representatives are tasked with providing oversight of the same companies they invest in, yet they continually buy and sell stocks, outperforming the market time and again,’ he added. ‘The solution is clear. We must immediately and permanently ban all members of Congress from trading stocks.’

Former Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who served as House speaker between October 2015 and January 2019, had an estimated net worth of $7.3 million as of 2017, according to Open Secrets. His 2017 disclosures revealed he owned millions in financial assets, which included real estate, mineral rights, mutual funds and individual stocks like Home Depot, Procter & Gamble and Wells Fargo.

Former Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, who was House speaker between January 2011 and October 2015, had an estimated net worth of $3.4 million as of 2015, Open Secrets data showed. Boehner reported in 2014 owning hundreds of thousands of dollars in individual stocks.

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