This morning, bombshell reporting from the Daily Beast detailed House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer’sshady business deals and family influence peddling – the same thing he has accused President Biden of doing. While Comer has failed to uncover any evidence of wrongdoing in his investigation of the President, it turns out the person he may want to investigate is himself. As detailed in the Daily Beast, the Comer family’s influence peddling on farm-land and agribusiness took place while Comer held powerful positions in the state legislature, as Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner, and as a member of the House Agriculture Committee in Congress. Comer and his shady business deals and family influence peddling are a clear ethical conflict and conflict of interest that demand explanation and accountability.
James Comer has continuously used his positions of power to benefit himself and his family. He co-sponsored a bill to forgive COVID-19 PPP loans that benefited his brother, weaponized the government to leak a journalist’s private email, orchestrated a grand jury investigation of his political opponent, and flip-flopped his position on gambling after the CEO of Churchill Downs donated to his campaigns. If Comer actually cared about accountability, he would start by investigating his own family.
The Daily Beast: James Comer, Like Joe Biden, Also Paid His Brother $200K. “Comer has in particular been trying to make hay out of two personal loan repayments from James Biden to his brother, for $40,000 and $200,000—with all transactions occurring in 2017 and 2018, when Joe Biden was neither in office nor a candidate. But if Comer genuinely believes these transactions clear the “shady business practices” bar, he might want to consider a parallel inquiry into his own family. According to Kentucky property records, Comer and his own brother have engaged in land swaps related to their family farming business. In one deal—also involving $200,000, as well as a shell company—the more powerful and influential Comer channeled extra money to his brother, seemingly from nothing. Other recent land swaps were quickly followed with new applications for special tax breaks, state records show. All of this, perplexingly, related to the dealings of a family company that appears to have never existed on paper. But unlike with the Bidens, Comer’s own history actually borders a conflict of interest between his official government role and his private family business—and it’s been going on for decades. While Comer and House GOP allies have tried to cast the Biden transactions as evidence of unsavory and possibly impeachable offenses, multiple news organizations—including CNN, The Wall Street Journal, FactCheck.org, and the conservative-leaning Washington Examiner—have all thrown cold water on the notion that the payments are evidence of anything other than a brother helping a brother. That hasn’t stopped Comer. But hypocrisy hasn’t stopped Comer before, either.” [The Daily Beast, 11/9/23]
The New Republic: Well, Well, Well: Hypocrite James Comer Did Exactly What Joe Biden Did. “Not only did Comer also lend his brother $200,000, he did it in the sketchiest way possible, according to the report. Comer co-owns a farming business with his brother. Their late father was also a partner. With this business, Comer and his brother have engaged in multiple land swaps over the years. The Beast details one exchange after their father’s death in January 2019: Chad Comer bought out his brother’s half of a piece of inherited Kentucky property, paying $100,000, according to deed records in Monroe County. Five months later, James and his wife, Tamara “TJ” Comer, bought the property out in full, this time paying Chad Comer $218,000. The buyout netted Chad Comer an unexplained $18,000 above the total value in July. In another exchange, Comer gifted his brother his share of two inherited pieces of land, with a share value of $175,000. The cost of the transaction was only $1. Comer’s brother went on to apply for a hefty tax break and then gift Comer a more valuable piece of land in return. And as Comer likes to say so often, it’s not just about the loan itself. While he was swapping the land from his family’s farming business, Comer held multiple important roles in agriculture oversight. Before coming to Congress, Comer was a member of Kentucky’s state legislature Agriculture Committee for eight years. He also served as the Kentucky agriculture commissioner.” [The New Republic, 11/9/23]
Raw Story: James Comer May Have Conflicts Of Interest Involving His Own Brother: Report. “House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer (R-KY) has been investigating the allegedly “shady business practices” of President Joe Biden and his family, but he’s engaged in similar practices with his own relatives. […] The House GOP investigation has so far failed to turn up evidence the president’s loans are connected to any family business dealings, and none of them occurred while holding elected office, but Comer has exercised government influence over his family’s agriculture business for nearly two decades. […] “Conflicts of interest can occur when members serve on committees overseeing industries in which they are heavily invested or in which their business interests are intertwined,” said Delaney Marsco, senior counsel for ethics at nonpartisan watchdog Campaign Legal Center. “Voters have a right to know that lawmakers are using their considerable power in the interest of the public, not to game a personal business advantage.” [Raw Story, 11/9/23]
Alternet: Comer Is Going After Biden — But A $200k Payment To ‘His Own Brother’ Is A Massive ‘Conflict Of Interest’. “Sollenberger adds, ‘But unlike with the Bidens, Comer’s own history actually borders a conflict of interest between his official government role and his private family business — and it’s been going on for decades.’ The Daily Beast discussed Comer’s activities with Delaney Marsco, senior counsel for Campaign Legal Center and an expert on government ethics. According to Marsco, ‘Conflicts of interest can occur when members serve on committees overseeing industries in which they are heavily invested or in which their business interests are intertwined. Voters have a right to know that lawmakers are using their considerable power in the interest of the public, not to game a personal business advantage.’” [AlterNet, 11/9/23]
Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-14): “What is James Comer hiding? Why won’t he release his tax returns and bank records?” [X, 11/9/23]
Rep. Dan Goldman (NY-10): “Shell companies? Shady family transactions? Abuse of official power for family personal interest? It’s not President Biden. It’s Chairman @RepJamesComer, who leads the ‘impeachment inquiry.’” [X, 11/9/23]
Rep. Jared Moskowitz (FL-23): “James Comer and his brother loaned each other money? Land swap deals? Special tax breaks. Subpoena the records” [X, 11/9/23]
Rep. Robert Garcia (CA-42): “Well look at this, our Oversight Chairman loaned his brother $200,000. I assume now we are going to investigate James Comer? The hypocrisy is off the charts!” [X, 11/9/23]
Rep. Don Beyer (VA-08): “Can’t make this up: James Comer Also Paid His Brother $200K.” [X, 11/9/23]
Ed Krassenstein (Independent Journalist): “WOW! So James Comer and Republicans want people to believe Joe Biden is a criminal after they discovered that he gave his brother James Biden a check for $200,000 that says ‘loan repayment’ on it. Meanwhile, James Comer also loaned his brother a large some of [the] money, according to The Daily Beast, per Kentucky Property Records. James Comer, in a deal involving a shell company and $200K, sent money to his brother, seemingly from nothing. To make matters worse, this deal seems to have been done in regards to a family company that doesn’t appear to have even existed on paper records. Hypocrisy or not?” [X, 11/9/23]