Kennedy announces bill banning family members of U.S. officials from profiting in Ukraine

Kennedy announces bill banning family members of U.S. officials from profiting in Ukraine
© Aaron Schwartz
Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) announced on Tuesday that he will file legislation later this month to ban immediate family members of lawmakers and top administration officials from profiting in Ukraine.

The bill, according to a release from Kennedy's office, would ban immediate family members of lawmakers, cabinet officials, the vice president or president from "serving as a consultant, employee, independent contractor or board member for or owning 5% or more in any entity doing business in or with Ukraine."
 
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Kennedy, in a statement, said Ukraine's government is "historically corrupt" and "senior members of our government should not be a part of, or seen to be a part of, this conduct."
 
"My bill will remove any appearance of impropriety or potential conflict of interest for any immediate family member of a senior United States official. The best way to resist temptation is a proper upbringing, a strong set of values and tough laws," Kennedy added.   
 
Kennedy plans to file the legislation once Congress returns from a two-week recess on Oct. 14. 
 
Kennedy didn't reference former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPerry delegation talking points stressed pushing Ukraine to deal with 'corruption' GOP senator airs anti-Biden ad in Iowa amid impeachment trial Biden photobombs live national news broadcast at one of his rallies MORE in the bill announcement, but it comes as Trump and his allies have ratcheted up their calls for an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter Biden. 
 
"The Fake News Media wants to stay as far away as possible from the Ukraine and China deals made by the Bidens. A Corrupt Media is so bad for our Country! In actuality, the Media may be even more Corrupt than the Bidens, which is hard to do!" Trump tweeted on Monday. 
 
Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyLawmakers warn US, UK intel sharing at risk after Huawei decision Democratic senator on proposal to read Bolton manuscript in classified setting: 'Total bulls---t' Republicans show little enthusiasm for impeachment witness swap MORE (D-Conn.) said it's "obviously a silly, political hit job." But, he added, the GOP senator should reach out if he wanted to work on a bill that applied the same ban to all countries.
 
"This is obviously a silly, political hit job. But hey @SenJohnKennedy if you want to apply something like this to all foreign countries and make sure it applies to the President’s kids too, then me," Murphy tweeted.

Hunter Biden worked on the board of a natural gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch while his father served as vice president.

Joe Biden pushed in 2016 for the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been accused of overlooking corruption in his own office, threatening to withhold money if the prosecutor was not fired.

There’s no indication Joe Biden was acting with his son’s interests in mind and the former vice president has denied doing so. But Trump and his allies, including Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiLawyer says Parnas can't attend Senate trial due to ankle bracelet Perry delegation talking points stressed pushing Ukraine to deal with 'corruption' Giuliani calls Bolton a 'backstabber' over Ukraine allegations MORE, have pushed for an investigation into the Bidens in Ukraine and decried the former vice president as “corrupt.”

Some Senate Republicans have echoed the calls for a probe. Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonPerry delegation talking points stressed pushing Ukraine to deal with 'corruption' Overnight Energy: Democrats unveil draft climate bill | Plan aims for carbon neutrality by 2050 | GOP senators press IRS on electric vehicle tax credit Senate Republicans to meet Tuesday afternoon on witness question MORE (R-Wis.) told reporters last week that it would be "completely appropriate" for the Senate to lead the investigation. 

The GOP focus on Biden comes as the country is engulfed in an impeachment fight that centers around Trump's action toward Ukraine.

Trump, according to a White House readout, suggested in a phone call that the Ukrainian president work with Giuliani to investigate Biden, telling him "whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great."
 
Morgan Chalfant contributed