This week in ethics news

Each week we highlight the latest news of politicians and the powerful being held accountable for their actions. As a government watchdog, we are working to restore public trust in our public institutions by shining a light on the work being done to promote good governance. Here are the top stories from this week in ethics news.

Real Clear Politics - Susan Crabtree

The coronavirus election is here with all of its vast unknowns, but so far President Trump is fighting it with one hand purposefully tied behind his back. In recent days Trump’s top reelection advisers put an indefinite hold on plans to bombard Joe Biden with negative ads as the nation struggles to deal with upended normal life and heightened fears about the virus and its impact on the economy.

Pro Publica - Robert Faturechi and Derek Willis

Soon after he offered public assurances that the government was ready to battle the coronavirus, the powerful chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, sold off a significant percentage of his stocks, unloading between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings on Feb. 13 in 33 separate transactions.

The Verge - Kim Lyons

A yearlong analysis of Facebook’s Ad Library has revealed “significant systemic flaws” in the way the platform monitors and enforces its political ad rules, according to researchers at New York University. The issues were uncovered as part of the NYU team’s audit of the Ad Library between May 2018 and June 2019, which found some $37 million worth of ads did not accurately disclose who was paying for them.

The Fresno Bee - Kate Irby

Rep. TJ Cox owes about $30,000 in back taxes to the state of California, according to a lien filed against him this month. It’s the second tax lien filed this year against the freshman Democratic congressman who is a top Republican target in the 2020 race. The lien from the state says Cox, D-Fresno, and his wife owe $30,482 in unpaid personal income tax for the year 2017.

CNN - Paul Vercammen and Devan Cole

Former Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter was sentenced Tuesday to 11 months in prison and three years of parole for corruption charges stemming from his misuse of more than $200,000 in campaign funds for a slew of personal expenses.

Hunter pleaded guilty in December to one count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds. He sat expressionless as the sentence was handed down and said during the hearing that he takes “full responsibility for any dime that was spent by me or anyone else on my campaign.”