House Dems sink bipartisan White House ethics bill after reportedly being nudged

Given the highly partisan atmosphere in Washington, D.C., a report that several Democrats have backed out of supporting a White House ethics bill is not as surprising as the fact that the lawmakers ever signed on in the first place.

Then again, the Presidential Ethics Reform Act was proposed by House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) and Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA).

Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), and Kweisi Mfume (D-MD) agreed to be cosponsors, but suddenly pulled their support after officials from the Biden administration allegedly reached out to them, the Washington Examiner reported, citing a source familiar with the matter.

The legislation was described as “a landmark federal ethics reform bill to deliver transparency to the American people and enable robust congressional oversight.”

“In addition to requiring disclosure of conflicts of interest while in office, the bill requires presidents and vice presidents to disclose foreign payments, expensive gifts, loan transactions, and tax returns during the two-year period prior to time in office, during time in office, and for two years following departure from office. The bill also requires presidents and vice presidents to make disclosures for immediate family members who receive foreign payments, expensive gifts, or loans, or who use official travel for personal business,” read a May press release from Comer and Porter.

Given that the description screams Hunter Biden, it’s a wonder any Democrat would sign on, let alone author the bill.

“I was excited to come to Washington to introduce my bill. And was proud that I had found three senior Democratic co-sponsors. When I landed, I was really disappointed to learn that those co-sponsors had decided not to support the bill and had had conversations with the White House,” Porter told The Hill.

“It’s too partisan a tool to cudgel the president as opposed to a serious effort of bipartisan ethics reform,” Khanna said, according to the outlet.

Khanna denied being contacted by the White House, saying that he backed out after reading the bill, which raises the question of why he would have attached his name to it in the first place if that’s the case.

“I made the decision independently,” he said. “No one called me.”

“I wanted to see a larger bipartisan effort,” Mfume reportedly said. “I was under the belief that there would be, and when there wasn’t, I just said, ‘Let me step off.’”

Porter stands by the bill, arguing that it offers improvement.

“Our job in Congress is to pass legislation that improves our government. This legislation does that. It is not to punish or reward friends or enemies,” she said“It is to pass legislation that improves the lives of the American people and improves our democracy, and this legislation meets that test. That’s why I’m proud to support it.”

“I think that’s the question people should be asking themselves,” the Democrat added. “Not, ‘Who’s the sponsor?’ or  ‘Who wrote it?’ but instead, ‘Is this legislation that would make our democracy stronger?’ And the answer is a clear, unqualified yes.”

Tom Tillison

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