Relatable! Our New House Speaker Appears to Be Broke
Financial disclosures show Mike Johnson doesn’t have a savings account or even $5,000—all while wrestling with hundreds of thousands in loans.Politics
Members of Congress aren’t exactly known for being relatable—quite the opposite, across the political spectrum, they’re better known for having, like, a lot of money. Enter our new House Speaker, Mike Johnson (R-La.), who, according to a jarring new report in the Daily Beast, appears to be serving up nearly unprecedented representation for broke boys across America within the halls of power.
According to the bombshell report, Johnson “has never reported a checking or savings account in his name, nor in the name of his wife or any of his children,” and nor does he disclose any assets or stocks. The House Ethics Committee requires that members disclose any account that contains $1,000 or more and disclose all accounts that combine for $5,000 or more. More simply put, if Johnson is indeed following these requirements, then as the Daily Beast points out, he appears to have fewer than $5,000 in savings.
And, according to the report, these meager assets compound with “a mortgage valued between $250,000 and $500,000; a personal loan from 2016 that’s between $15,000 and $50,000; and a home equity line of credit… between $15,000 and $50,000.” Johnson did appear to pay down a 2016 loan from the range of $50,000 to $100,000, to the more manageable $15,000 to $50,000 range, at some point. But at the same time, he does not appear to have any retirement savings, per his 2022 disclosure.
Per the Daily Beast, Johnson seems to be living paycheck-to-paycheck—not unlike most Americans. But the strange thing about his situation is that, unlike most Americans, House members earn a nearly $200,000 annual salary; Johnson’s salary will jump to $223,500 as Speaker. His wife also reports income from two different nonprofits, “Onward Christian Education Services, Inc.” and “Louisiana Right To Life Educational Committee,” though it’s not clear how much she receives from each.
Johnson’s financial situation is raising eyebrows among watchdog groups like Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, whose spokesperson suggested to the Daily Beast that the new Speaker’s “financial difficulties” could make him “ripe for influence buying”—especially if he leverages his recent rise to prominence for financial gain. Notably, another of House Republicans’ numerous previous Speaker nominees, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), holds a negative net worth of -$671,000, per Roll Call. Open Secrets estimates that Johnson’s net worth stood at -$32,500 in 2018, and the Wall Street Journal reported last week that Johnson has only “modest” financials. Now serving as second-in-line to the president, Johnson is at the height of his political influence, and his apparently precarious financial situation raises all kinds of questions as he faces an entirely new dimension of public scrutiny for the first time in his fairly quiet career.
Over the last week, since the House Republican circus finally managed to anoint Johnson after weeks of humiliating more than a dozen other Speaker candidates, every new revelation about Johnson has been, err, interesting. Between resurfaced comments blaming school shootings on abortion and divorce, and other comments inexplicably likening abortion to the Holocaust (!!!), that the man is apparently broke is hardly his most damning quirk. But it’s certainly one of his more peculiar ones, especially as we meander toward a government shutdown that will see fellow House Republicans pressure Johnson to be at his most fiscally conservative. I, for one, would not trust myself to preside over the federal budget—and according to the Daily Beast, despite nursing an imprudent addiction to DoorDash and buying almost everything my Instagram ads push down my throat, I have more in savings than Mike Johnson. Something to think about!!