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.

The Washington Times - Gabriella Muñoz

Americans for Public Trust filed our first complaints, highlighting ethics problems by three members of the House Judiciary: Representatives Madeleine Dean, Pramila Jayapal, and Lucy McBath. These complaints were filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics, as well as with the Federal Election Commission. The complaints alleged that Representative Dean used her state campaign committee to finance her federal campaign, Representative Jayapal fundraised from her official actions, and Representative McBath coordinated with millions of dollars of outside spending in her election.

Kansas City Star - Jason Hancock

The Missouri Ethics Commission said they found no evidence of wrongdoing by Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens personally, however his campaign was fined $178,000 for two campaign finance violations stemming from a complaint filed in 2018. The commission also reviewed and dismissed multiple other allegations from this complaint. A separate complaint filed by the watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) with the Federal Election Commission in 2018 is still under review.

Fresno Bee - Kate Irby

Representative TJ Cox owes the IRS nearly $145,000 for unpaid taxes, according to a lien filed in January of 2020. This is the second tax lien filed by the IRS since 2015 against Representative Cox. He claimed that the first lien was due to bureaucratic incompetence when his check was not processed properly. Regarding the second tax lien, a spokesperson for Representative Cox stated that he was on a repayment plan and making payments to the IRS.

Greensboro News & Record

Multiple ethics complaints were filed against State Schools Superintendent Mark Johnson, a candidate for North Carolina lieutenant governor, alleging he misused his position in support of his campaign. The complaints are in response to emails and text messages sent by Johnson to teachers and parents that share his opposition to Common Core, which has become a theme in his campaign for lieutenant governor.

McClatchy - Brian Murphy

A Senate ethics complaint was filed against Senator Thom Tillis by the North Carolina Democratic Party alleging he used his official position to fundraise for his campaign. The ethics complaint details how Senator Tillis sent a fundraising email in advance of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, asking for contributions to ensure he had the resources to fight back. The Tillis campaign responded to the complaint calling it both “frivolous” and “pathetic.”

Wall Street Journal - Julie Bykowicz

The Campaign Legal Center, an election-spending watchdog, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Pete Buttigieg’s campaign for president. The complaint alleges that the Buttigieg campaign improperly coordinated with VoteVets, a super PAC that is supporting Buttigieg with TV advertisements in Nevada. Specifically, the Campaign Legal Center accuses the Buttigieg campaign of using twitter to ask and direct the super PAC to place ads on television, stating that the request “crosses a legal line.”