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FACT SHEET: All The Ways James Comer Benefited His Family Financially While Holding Public Office

Feb 21, 2024

This week, James Comer and House Oversight Republicans are deposing President Biden’s brother, James Biden, despite their baseless impeachment probe in ruins after their central source was indicted for lying about President Biden and his family. This deposition is just another political stunt by James Comer, and shows just how desperate Republicans are to keep their evidence-free inquiry afloat.  These attacks are nothing more than an exercise in hypocrisy. 

While Comer has attacked President Biden and his family, the Oversight Chair has a history of using his influence in questionable ways to benefit his family – particularly his brother, Chad Comer. James Comer transacted numerous land swaps that boosted property values and led to special tax breaks, and even co-sponsored pandemic relief legislation his brother took advantage of despite not needing the lifeline – as evidenced by his premium NFL season tickets. Let’s recap just a few of the ways James Comer has conducted personal business with Chad Comer alongside his official governmental duties:

Comer Paid His Brother Over $200,000 In Shady Land Swaps Concealed From The Public.

Throughout 2019, James Comer and his brother negotiated land swaps after they both inherited property following the death of their father. In an April 2019 deal, James Comer gifted his brother two parcels of land and listed the value – around $175,000 – as unchanged since 1994. On the same day, Chad reciprocated by gifting his brother a piece of property, publicly listed as worth more than $200,000. Unlike his brother, however, James Comer did not disclose the value of those properties, instead writing “exempt” on the deed. Investigators from the Daily Beast approximated that Comer “appears to have netted a value of roughly $30,000 in the swap, [and] he did not put that in the public record.”

Comer and His Brother Benefited Financially From Land Swaps and Special Tax Breaks While He Served On the House Agriculture Committee. 

James Comer has a long record of serving in public agricultural oversight roles, serving as Agricultural Commissioner of Kentucky from 2012 to 2016 before joining the House Agriculture Committee from 2016 to 2020. Throughout this period, Comer was deeply involved in personal agribusiness ventures, enriching his family in a potential conflict of interest involving land swaps and lucrative tax incentives. During this time period, James Comer and his brother Chad engaged in land swaps, supposedly related to their family’s farming business. One problem: the farming business, according to investigators at the Daily Beast, “appears to have never existed on paper […] For years, the company Comer ran with his brother and father has been identified in news reports, official statements, Comer’s financial disclosures, and livestock sale bulletins as ‘Comer Land & Cattle.’ But there is no record of an entity by that name in business filings with the commonwealth of Kentucky—or apparently with any other jurisdiction. […] Comer has also claimed to run his own personal agriculture company, ‘James Comer Jr. Farms’—described in a 2012 Kentucky agriculture commission press release as ‘a 950-acre beef cattle, timber and hay farming operation in his native Monroe County’—but The Daily Beast couldn’t find any official records of an entity by that name, either.”

  • Late 2019: Chad Comer Benefited From Special Tax Breaks As A Result of the April Land Swap. Months after the April 2019 land swap worth over $200,000, Comer’s brother turned around and applied for a special agricultural tax break known as a “Greenbelt Assessment” on the property gifted to him by Comer, assessing property taxes by a revised “use value” instead of the fair market value based on annual agricultural income generated by the property.
  • July – December 2019: James Comer Initiated Land Swaps Through His Shell Company, Netting His Brother An Unexplained $18,000. In another deal involving a shell company run by James Comer and his wife – Farm Team Properties, LLC – Chad bought out half of James Comer’s portion of a family property – James Comer then bought out the property in full, paying more than the value listed just months earlier and netting Chad an additional $18,000 without explanation.

Comer’s Brother Bought Premium NFL Season Tickets While Receiving Government Bailouts From A COVID-19 Relief Program Comer Co-Sponsored.

Comer has dedicated a portion of his Oversight Committee agenda to investigating misuse of pandemic relief funds. Yet Comer himself, along with his family, benefitted from a pandemic relief program he was deeply involved in passing. In 2020, Comer co-sponsored pandemic relief legislation that automatically forgave Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans under $150,000. The PPP loan forgiveness program was a lifeline for many small business owners who used their PPP loans just to stay afloat during the pandemic. For Comer’s brother Chad, however, the legislation seems to have merely bolstered his already-booming business. In fact, while his PPP loans were forgiven, he was spending money on premium NFL season tickets valued at about a quarter of what he received from PPP.