Top ranking House Republicans, Reps. James Comer (R-Kentucky) and Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina) are sounding the alarm bell on Biden Administration officials who are set to receive a financial windfall if Biden's student debt forgiveness plan goes forward.
The White House proposal is to reportedly forgive at least $10,000 in student debt for millions of federal student loan borrowers who have a household income up to $300,000.
The Republican lawmakers are requesting information to determine whether Biden political appointees have a potential conflict of interest, and whether they or their family members would benefit from a policy they are pushing iden to enact.
In a letter to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Director Emory Rounds, the Republican lawmakers write:
A recent report found no less than thirty senior White House staffers with millions in outstanding student loans. One in five White House staffers required to file a disclosure reported outstanding student loans. Together, this group owes approximately $4.7 million—a sum that does not include White House staffers not required to disclose such debt due to junior status or pay thresholds. Public officials should not be responsible for crafting policies from which they stand to financially benefit.
Many hardworking taxpayers do not hold a college degree, made difficult financial decisions to obtain a degree without borrowing from taxpayers, or made tough choices in order to pay off their student loans. We want to better understand the administration’s decision to benefit indebted political appointees and highly educated graduates at the expense of taxpayers.
Public officials should never use their office to unjustly enrich themselves, and such behavior would directly violate the Ethics Pledge that President Biden implemented for all political appointees."Reps. James Comer (R-Kentucky) and Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina)
The Republicans request a list of all public officials in the Biden Administration who have worked on the student loan forgiveness policy and all related documents and communications.
Read the letter here or below:
June 15, 2022
Mr. Emory A. Rounds, III
U.S. Office of Government Ethics
1201 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 500 Washington, D.C. 20005
Dear Mr. Rounds:
We are conducting oversight over the White House’s proposal to reportedly forgive at least $10,000 in student debt for millions of federal student loan borrowers with a household income up to $300,000.1 This policy is an unjust wealth transfer from hardworking Americans to highly educated upper-middle-class graduates who borrowed from taxpayers to earn their degree, and, in some cases, multiple degrees. In addition to the substantial and negative ramifications of this illegal action, we are especially concerned that this policy may have been promulgated by White House staffers who stand to financially benefit from the decision, especially considering recent reports that White House political appointees owe millions in student loan debt. Public officials should never use their office to unjustly enrich themselves, and such behavior would directly violate the Ethics Pledge that President Biden implemented for all political appointees.2 We write to request your assistance in determining whether White House staffers have a conflict of interest and whether they or their family members would benefit from the policy they are pushing the President to enact.
Presumably, political appointees with outstanding student loans are included in the reported student loan forgiveness scheme the Biden administration is planning to undertake, thereby raising concerns of whether appointees with conflicts of interest pushed student loan forgiveness to receive a financial windfall. Indeed, a recent report found no less than thirty senior White House staffers with millions in outstanding student loans.3 One in five White House staffers required to file a disclosure reported outstanding student loans.4 Together, this group owes approximately $4.7 million—a sum that does not include White House staffers not required to disclose such debt due to junior status or pay thresholds.5 Public officials should not be responsible for crafting policies from which they stand to financially benefit.
Notwithstanding the gross abuse of power as executive branch employees, this would explicitly violate President Biden’s Ethics Pledge, which requires that every appointee in every executive agency contractually pledge to make decisions exclusively within the public interest
1 Pager, Tyler, et al., Latest White House plan would forgive $10,000 in student debt per borrower, WASH. POST (May 27, 2022).
2 Exec. Order No. 13989 “Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel,” (Jan. 20, 2021).
3 Josh Wingrove, Biden’s Student Loan Plan is Personal for 30 Top Aides with Millions in Debt, BLOOMBERG (May 19, 2022).
4 Id. 5 Id.
Mr. Emory A. Rounds, III June 15, 2022
Page 2 of 2
and without regard to personal benefit or gain.6 Once again, the administration’s actions contrast with President Biden’s repeated promises to create a transparent and ethical administration.7
Many hardworking taxpayers do not hold a college degree, made difficult financial decisions to obtain a degree without borrowing from taxpayers, or made tough choices in order to pay off their student loans. We want to better understand the administration’s decision to benefit indebted political appointees and highly educated graduates at the expense of taxpayers. To that end, we request the following information no later than June 29, 2022 covering the period January 20, 2021 to the present unless otherwise noted:
- A list of all employees in the Biden administration who have worked on the administration’s student loan forgiveness policy;
- All documents and communications indicating whether those employees have outstanding student loans that would be forgiven in whole or in part under the policy;
- A copy of any ethics waivers given to those employees to work on the student loan forgiveness policy;
- A signed copy of all ethics pledges pertaining to individuals identified above.
To ask any follow-up or related questions, please contact the Committee on Oversight and Reform Republican staff at (202) 225-5074 and the Committee on Education and Labor Republican Staff at (202) 225-4527. The Committee on Oversight and Reform is the principal oversight committee of the U.S. House of Representatives and has broad authority to investigate “any matter” at “any time” under House Rule X. Thank you in advance for your cooperation with this inquiry.
Committee on Oversight and Reform
Committee on Education and Labor
cc: The Honorable Carolyn Maloney, Chairwoman Committee on Oversight and Reform
The Honorable Bobby Scott, Chairman Committee on Education and Labor
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You learn in child development you NEVER reward bad behavior or you will get more. Taking out a loan you have no chance of paying off and letting society pay it off is rewarding poor behavior. Most of these students are already toddlers in adult bodies, this is not helping them to grow up. Their bad choices will teach others to think about their future before copying those before them. Learning from others mistakes is a very valuable learning tool.
Bill Andrews says
This Article ? I don't know but Don't be stealing my past medicine Formulas and other New physics on these weaponized devices and tech companies been collecting yours mine and your college kids data and intellectual properties from these devices since 2001 . I want Big money for my past work instead of these people getting away with data stalking and evading users administrative rights to privacy and security settings collecting it anyway ? With these kinds of weaponized devices, there robbing us all Blind hiding in the background .. These days why would you go in debt for a College education just to find out these tech companies and other Data Brokers including China and Russia are laundering your best idea's and other info for free in cyber crime activities, and getting the best of what you and me and your college kids got for free hiding in the background of these Devices = Federal Cyber Crime that have grown 500 % worse since 2001 and getting worse .. I have seen these peoples work since 2001 they couldn't take a pee without wetting the front of there Pants in sneaky weaponized software and devices ! You people better find another friend then these devices ( Monkey's on a rope turning tricks while they data launder all your idea's and stuff ? ) "Look no wonder these people got so rich ? There worse then Richard Nixon ever was ? Data Gate = Bad reinvented idea's from the ghost of Richard Nixon's past ?
If the government does go ahead and allow forgiveness, SOMEONE has to pay for the loans. In this case, you, me and other tax payers will have to underwrite these obligations.
Loans just don't go away like the democrats describe. WE DON"T have the funds for this, the US government is $22 Trillion in debt BEFORE COVID. It's time to save some money, not continue to spend what we don't have.
Dietrich Murphy says
Some ignorant Republicans don't realize that this year (every 7 years) is the year of debt forgiveness. Nations which do not forgive debts will be severly judged. This is one time when Biden is right.
God commanded nations to forgive debts every seven years. I quote:
At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. Deuteronomy 15:2 This is the manner of remission: Every creditor shall cancel what he has loaned to his neighbor. He is not to collect anything from his neighbor or brother, because the LORD's time of release has been proclaimed.
2022 is a Shemittah year or sabbath year.
We pray for debt cancellation before our economy gets any worse.