House plots a bipartisan deal over Trump and Biden family finances

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP and Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump and Biden families potentially inspire bipartisan home legislation, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The top leaders of the House Oversight Committee are trying to channel intense partisan hostilities into reforms for classified documents and presidential family finances.

  • “There are seeds of real legislative promise,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, to Axios.

Send the news: Oversight Commission officials are working on legislation to require greater financial disclosure from presidential family members and to reform the national archives process for retrieving classified documents at the end of presidential administrations, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

  • “I think those are the two biggest areas … where there is an opportunity for bipartisan legislation,” House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) told Axios.
  • Comer and Raskin have already had broad discussions about what might be feasible on both fronts, the members told Axios.

Between the lines: The source of some of Washington’s most partisan made-for-TV hearings is an unlikely venue for bipartisanship.

  • Despite the two agreeing in televised hearings, Raskin characterized Comer in an interview with Axios as a “serious legislator” with whom he can work in good faith.
  • “I know he’s also dealing with a very powerful and sometimes toxic MAGA wing within his caucus and … his committee,” Raskin said.

Yes but: There could be a partisan divide over extending the disclosure mandate to family members who don’t serve in government, and the talks are only “on a rhetorical level,” Raskin said.

  • Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a forward thinking senior Oversight member, told Axios that he sees no reason to force disclosures from family members who are otherwise private citizens.
  • “Why should we have Chelsea Clinton [disclose] her finances, or Malia Obama? No,’ said Khanna.

What they say: Comer told Axios he is hopeful about addressing “influence peddling” by relatives of presidents.

  • Democrats “complained about the previous administration and relatives doing things that crossed the line with our opponents,” he said. “I am clearly complaining to this government about it.”
  • Raskin said he is “definitely” on board with demanding disclosures from family members in federal jobs — i.e. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
  • Raskin acknowledged a “structural problem where people could potentially influence a president by influencing members of the president’s family.

The big picture: Ethical and legal questions surrounding Trump’s family, business and foreign investments have long been a source of scrutiny and criticism from Democrats.

  • The Democratic-led oversight committee headed by Trump investigated the decision to grant security clearances to Kushner and foreign government spending at the Trump Hotel in D.C.
  • Republicans and conservative media have made Hunter Biden and the president’s brother James Biden prime targets. They have expressed concern about the couple’s financial and business dealings with foreign actors.

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