Cabinet officials are all required to disclose their assets, debts and sources of income… but President Joe Biden’s Cabinet is looking odd.
Like all Cabinet members, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland makes $210,000 per year. She made $174,000 per year during her one term a member of the House.
While Haaland submitted the legally required form declaring her assets on time… but she left it almost completely blank.
In fact, she reported a net worth of less than zero because of her student debt.
Haaland has spoken openly about her past financial struggles, but she’s collected a six-figure salary every year since 2019. She reported New Mexico student loans not exceeding $50,000, having incurred the loans in 2006.
Haaland reported no assets at all, not even a simple savings account. She left large blocks of white space on her disclosure form, available online.
Haaland disclosed only two numbers: her student debt and her tribal payment. Haaland, a Native American, remains a formal member of the Pueblo Laguna tribe, and she reportedly receives $175 per year. She included the payment on her form as an alternate source of income.
With this nearly empty form, Haaland raised eyebrows in D.C. and the scandal attracted the attention of critics.
One former colleague — Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark. — called Thursday for the Justice Department to audit the “efficacy and effectiveness” of the Interior Department’s Departmental Ethics Office, according to The Washington Times. He specifically cited concerns about Haaland’s finances.
The watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust voiced similar concerns earlier this month in a letter to the Justice Department.
“On December 23, 2020, Secretary Haaland signed a Form 278e that reported no assets, including personal bank accounts or investment accounts, save an annual payment from the Pueblo of Laguna, New Mexico, in the amount of $175 per year,” the watchdog wrote.
“While not strictly impossible, this report strains credulity.”
Republicans are anticipating a victory in the House this November… and some Republicans have promised oversight investigations into the Biden administration.
“We are going to take power after this next election,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said in December, according to The Washington Post. “When we do, it’s not going to be the days of… no real oversight and no real subpoenas.”
Haaland has spoken openly about her financial struggles in the past.
Take a look —
People want to know that folks in Congress are like them. I know the struggles of NM families – finding the money to put food on the table, making sure my mom is taken care of in old age – these are the things that drive me in Congress. #ForThePeople https://t.co/hBOAx4bfyn
— Rep. Deb Haaland (@RepDebHaaland) September 17, 2019
The Horn editorial team