Kamala Harris appears to have violated her own ethics pledge by keeping her assets hidden in a tax-protected trust
- Kamala Harris and Joe Biden said they would close loophole that allows trust beneficiaries not to disclose holdings
- In meantime, administration officials were asked to publish all assets
- The pledge accused President Trump of using the loophole to avoid disclosing his financial holdings
- But Harris’s financial disclosure states: ‘Trust assets are not reportable’
- 2020 tax return shows Harris and her husband earned almost $1.9 million
Vice President Kamala Harris may be breaching her own finance ethics promise, according to her latest financial disclosure that shows she keeps assets hidden in a tax-advantaged trust.
Increasing transparency and closing loopholes were among the Biden-Harris ethics pledges during the campaign, as they sought to draw a contrast with President Trump and his murky finances.
But Harris’s disclosure on Monday reveals that she has been a trustee of the KDH/DCE family trust since 2017.
‘Trust assets are not reportable,’ says the entry, effectively obscuring some of her holdings from public view.
During the campaign, Kamala Harris and Joe Biden pledged to ensure beneficiaries of discretionary trusts disclosed all their holdings in order to avoid conflicts of interest
The White House released the financial disclosure form filed by Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff. It shows they declined to report assets held by their KDH/DCE family trust
Yet that is a practise that Harris promised to end during the campaign.
The pledge was spelled out in the Biden Plan to Guarantee Government works for the People.
It promised to restore faith in American government by drawing a line under Trump and what it described as ‘the most corrupt administration in modern history.’
In particular it set about eliminating conflicts of interest and closing a loophole that allows candidates and public officials to transfer assets into trusts controlled by family members or friends, and then disclose just the existence of the trust.
‘This loophole has allowed many senior officials — including President Trump — to avoid disclosing significant financial interests,’ said the pledge.
Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff paid a little over $620,000 in income tax in 2020 after earning almost $1.9 million according to their joint tax return
‘Biden will work with Congress to close this loophole; and will meanwhile require that any member of his administration who is a beneficiary of a discretionary trust disclose all of its holdings.’
Family trusts are often used for estate planning and to minimize tax liabilities.
The office of the vice president did not respond to a request for comment.
A senior Republican said it showed Democrats had one rule for the public, another for themselves.
John Feehery, a conservative strategist, said: ‘If the Democrats didn’t believe in hypocrisy, they wouldn’t believe in anything at all.’
Details of Harris’s wealth were revealed in tax returns published on Monday.
It showed she and first gentleman Doug Emhoff earned almost $1.9 million in 2020. Yet even that was significantly less than the $3.3 million they raked in a year earlier before Harris was campaigning in earnest.
Details of the apparent breach of her own ethics pledge were first reported by Fox News, which also trawled public records to find assets owned by the trust.
It reported that property records in Washington, D.C., revealed that Harris and Emhoff used the trust to buy a condo in 2017 that is now listed for sale with an asking price of close to $2 million.
Washington, D.C. property records show that Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff used the KDH/DCE trust to purchase a luxury condo near D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood in 2017. The condo is currently listed for sale on Zillow with an asking price of nearly $2 million.
The couple also transferred their Brentwood, California home into the trust when they married in 2014. Emhoff bought it for $2.7 million two years earlier.