President Joe Biden has indicated he may forgive $10,000 per borrower in student loan debt, but now Republicans are demanding answers on whether the president has a conflict of interest in his administration on that very issue.
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter this week raising questions about whether Biden administration officials or their family members will benefit from forgiving student loans.
“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,” the letter said. “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.”
The lawmakers sent the letter to U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Director Emory Rounds raising the ethical concerns and whether the Biden administration officials pushing for the policy have some personal gain to be had.
“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,” the letter said. 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.”
Recent reporting suggests that many officials stand to benefit from the policy.
“A recent report found no less than thirty senior White House staffers with millions in outstanding student loans,” the letter said. “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.”