White House mocks bipartisan ethics bill aimed at presidents, VPs — claims Biden ‘already’ ethical

WASHINGTON — A top Republican leading the impeachment inquiry into President Biden and an outspoken Democrat unveiled new ethics legislation Wednesday meant to halt influence peddling among the country’s first and second families — but the White House lampooned the idea and insisted Biden “already” has been ethical.

The Presidential Ethics Reform Act, sponsored by House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), would establish new mandatory disclosures while also requiring officeholders to release their tax returns.

“Influence peddling is a cottage industry in Washington and we’ve identified deficiencies in current law that have led to a culture of corruption,” Comer said.

House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer introduced the legislation on Wednesday. AP

“By creating this bipartisan legislation to provide greater transparency to the financial interactions related to the office of the president and vice president, we can ensure that moving forward American presidents, vice presidents, and their family members cannot profit from their proximity to power.”

The bill would require presidents and vice presidents to disclose payments from foreign sources to their immediate relatives during their time in office as well as two years before and after their service, with similar requirements for foreign or domestic loans of more than $10,000.

It also would require disclosure if family members are joining official travel while seeking business opportunities.

The tax return disclosure requirement would be in effect for two years before assuming office, during the officeholder’s tenure, and for two years after — following former President Donald Trump’s refusal to release his returns, claiming he was being audited.

“The American people deserve nothing less than full honesty and transparency from presidents and vice presidents,” Porter said.

“Our bipartisan Presidential Ethics Reform Act would let Americans view the tax returns, gifts, and other conflicts of interest of a president, vice president, and their families, empowering the public to evaluate our leaders’ behavior for themselves,” she added.

“By boosting transparency and requiring additional financial disclosures, Congress can shine a light on improper conduct in the Executive Branch — or be confident that none occurred. These reforms will help restore Americans’ trust in government and strengthen our democracy.”

Rep. Katie Porter joined Comer in the bipartisan effort. AP

White House counsel’s office spokesman Ian Sams ridiculed the bill as one of Comer’s “bright ideas” and said that Biden had “already” taken action on ethics — though the president has in fact spent years falsely denying his own links to his son Hunter Biden and brother James Biden’s multimillion-dollar foreign dealings.

“We’re always happy to look at Congressman Comer’s bright ideas, but on his first day in office, President Biden implemented the strictest ethics standards of any Administration in history, he has publicly released 26 years of his tax returns for the American people to see — the most of any President ever — and publicly releases his personal financial disclosures each year,” Sams said.

“So the president of course believes in the importance of presidential ethics, and he has already made clear his commitment to upholding strong ethical standards.”

Comer responded to Sams: “If President Biden is truly committed to upholding strong ethical standards, I look forward to his support of this landmark bipartisan legislation, which delivers transparency to the American people and enables robust congressional oversight.”

Biden has repeatedly insisted — incorrectly — that his family earned no money from China and that he has not interacted with any of his relatives’ foreign business associates, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The White House insisted President Biden is “already” ethical. AP

“I did not interact with their partners,” Biden told a Post reporter in March — despite evidence that he met their foreign associates from Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine and from two separate Chinese state-linked business ventures.

The impeachment inquiry has traced the flow of more than $7 million from defunct Chinese state-linked CEFC China Energy to entities associated with the Biden family, beginning in early 2017 — just after Joe Biden allegedly met at Washington’s Four Seasons hotel with CEFC Chairman Ye Jianming, who has since gone missing in China amid corruption allegations there.

Hunter, now 54, invoked potential retribution from his father in a July 2017 text message that demanded that CEFC make good on a $5 million transfer — warning he was “sitting here with my father.”

Photos from the first son’s abandoned laptop confirm he was indeed at his dad’s Wilmington, Del., home that day, though a pair of IRS investigators told Congress they were forbidden by the Justice Department from accessing phone records to prove Joe Biden was there as well.

First brother James Biden admitted in impeachment inquiry testimony this year that he sent $40,000 from CEFC to the future president in an alleged loan repayment in September 2017 — after an email written that May by business associate James Gilliar penciled in a 10% cut for the “big guy,” whom multiple former family associates have identified as Joe Biden.

Joe Biden also allegedly partook in a prior Chinese government-linked business relationship — meeting while sitting vice president in late 2013 with the incoming CEO of state-backed investment fund BHR Partners, Jonathan Li, during an official trip to Beijing.

Hunter, who joined his dad aboard Air Force Two for that trip, held a 10% stake in BHR Partners through at least his father’s first year as president, and allegedly put his dad on speaker phone with Li during a subsequent business trip, according to testimony from another former business partner, Devon Archer.

Joe Biden also wrote college recommendation letters for Li’s children

Hunter confirmed during his February impeachment inquiry testimony that his dad met with a variety of his foreign patrons during a pair of dinners at DC’s Café Milano in 2013 and 2014.

Attendees included Vadym Pozharskyi, a top executive of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings, which began paying the then-second son a $1 million annual salary in early 2014 as Joe Biden took the helm of the Obama-Biden administration’s policy toward Kyiv.

“I do believe that Vadym was at one of these dinners, yes,” Hunter told Congress, backing The Post’s initial October 2020 reporting on documents from Hunter’s abandoned laptop.

The Post’s scoop was initially censored by Facebook and Twitter as the Biden campaign gave the impression it was denying the reporting.

Joe Biden falsely claimed incriminating documents from his son’s laptop were a “Russian plant” during a presidential debate against Trump in October 2020.

The first son also confirmed to Congress that Russian billionaire Yelena Baturina — who reportedly transferred $3.5 million on Feb. 14, 2014, to a company jointly owned by Hunter and Archer — and Kazakhstani businessman Kenes Rakishev, who purchased Hunter a $142,000 sports car, were among the guests at the Café Milano dinners.


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