Monday, April 15, 2024

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James Comer’s Ill-Fated Biden Impeachment Effort Unravels as Spotlight Turns to His Own Shady Dealings

Partisan Witch Hunt Backfires: Shady Finances of GOP Lawmaker Driving Biden Impeachment Revealed.

James Comer

As House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) continues his impeachment inquiry into the Biden family’s business dealings, new questions are emerging about his own opaque financial transactions and the shell companies he has used to conduct them. What is James Comer hiding?

On March 14th, as the impeachment probe was crumbling, Comer registered a new company called “Gamaliel Stargazer LLC” in Kentucky, according to reporting by the Daily Beast. This came after months of Comer making exaggerated claims about the Bidens’ limited liability companies (LLCs), which drew accusations of hypocrisy when The Daily Beast revealed Comer’s own shell company, Farm Team Properties LLC.

Gamaliel Stargazer is registered at an address co-owned by Farm Team Properties, on a property Comer acquired from his brother in a questionable 2019 land swap. When asked about the new LLC, Comer said he established it “to engage in outside business activities” as permitted by law. However, the same claims Comer has peddled about the Bidens’ “nefarious” companies having no legitimate business purpose can easily be applied to his own LLCs.

“You know, you’re a business guy, Larry, I’m a business guy,” Comer told Fox Business host Larry Kudlow last April. “The one thing that stands out to me is how many different LLCs were involved that this [Biden] family had their fingerprints on. And, we really can’t tell what those LLCs did other than launder deposits from our adversaries around the world back to the Bidens.”

But fact-checkers have debunked Comer’s claims that the Biden companies served “no purpose,” finding they were created for customary business functions like investment management, legal work, and consulting. In contrast, Comer’s companies have raised concerns among ethics experts about improper financial disclosures and potentially obscuring unsavory deals, like a real estate investment with a campaign donor.

Farm Team Properties, which Comer calls a “land management and real estate speculation” business, doesn’t match his public statements, including the number of properties it owns. Of the two it does own, one property is tied to the new Gamaliel Stargazer LLC. Comer and his brother inherited that property in 2019. In July, Comer sold his half to his brother Chad for $100,000. Five months later, Comer and his wife bought back the full property for $218,000—netting a profit of $18,000. The repurchase included Comer’s shell company Farm Team Properties as a co-owner.

When media reports highlighted issues with Farm Team Properties, which had its business license revoked twice by Kentucky for not filing required reports, the stated purpose suddenly changed from “finance, insurance, real estate” to “agriculture production/crops” in January. This new description contradicts what Comer reports on congressional disclosures.

A review of dozens of Kentucky and Tennessee tax, real estate and business filings indicate that Comer’s own records are dubious at best. Farm Team Properties was dissolved by the state in 2020 and 2022 for not filing annual reports. By law, a dissolved LLC isn’t allowed to legally conduct business in Kentucky like executing deals, securing loans or collecting rent.

Comer reports rental income from his farmland, but it’s unclear if that comes from Farm Team’s alleged hunting leases, which experts say should be reflected in his disclosures but is not. His contradictory defenses of the company mean the public lacks a clear picture of his finances. The point being that the same cloud of opacity he alleges hangs over Hunter Biden’s entities invites scrutiny of his own dealings.

Comer has lashed out at media reports on Farm Team as “bullshit” that “only dumb, financially illiterate people pick up on” while insisting it’s not a shell company because it holds and leases property. Comer sounds awfully defensive for someone who acts like he has nothing to hide! “Come to Monroe County and look at all the land that is titled in that LLC,” he challenged doubters.

Records show Farm Team only owns two properties there. It’s also listed as a “borrower” on a $215,000 mortgage taken out on a different property that appears to extend a previous $350,000 loan not reflected on Comer’s disclosures.

Unlike with Farm Team, the Comers are listed personally on numerous Monroe County records, including a sweetheart oil and gas lease Comer signed with a campaign donor in 2015. For just $1, he leased drilling rights on 300 acres to an entity owned by John Bertram, who had donated to Comer’s state campaign the prior year. And it seems as if other members of Bertram’s family donated to Comer as well. 

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Comer held agricultural oversight roles for nearly two decades before recently shifting his business from farming to leasing land. He claims Farm Team’s revenue is “all money from basically farming and selling land.”

But its alleged farming revenue is invisible. FTP’s two properties aren’t assessed as high as the 500k-1M value Comer reports. In 2022, he claimed an agricultural tax break on Tennessee land by assessing it at “use value” vs fair market value.

Under House rules, even if Farm Team’s income only goes to Comer’s wife, who created it, he’s still required to disclose it. Real estate lawyer Alan Dubin called their LLC arrangement “odd,” likely aimed at steering money to Mrs. Comer.

A two-member LLC like this is by default treated as a partnership; treating it as a corporation would be unusual, but possible,” Dubin said. “And one reason to form a partnership is to split income… It’s likely because he’s trying to shift some income to his wife.

As James Comer’s ill-fated impeachment gambit unravels and the spotlight turns to his own opaque financial dealings, the same “bright red flags” he eagerly waves about others now cast an unflattering glare on his own tangled web of questionable business practices. 

A closer examination reveals a pattern of ethically dubious arrangements, improbable coincidences, and glaring contradictions between the lofty standards of conduct Comer demands of the Biden family and the murky realities of his own financial house. This opens him up to accusations of shameless hypocrisy and undermines the very credibility of the partisan witch hunt he is orchestrating from his perch atop the House Oversight Committee.