Ethics Watchdog Calls For Investigation Into Luria's Private School Ties

Swing district Dem failed to disclose her position on financial disclosures

Rep. Elaine Luria (D., Va.) / Getty Images
January 14, 2022

A watchdog group is calling for an ethics investigation into a Virginia congresswoman who failed to disclose that she was once the head of private school.

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) on Thursday requested the Office of Congressional Ethics look into Rep. Elaine Luria (D., Va.), whose financial disclosures omitted her role as president of Tidewater Montessori High School, Inc. Virginia corporation filings show Luria served as president of the school from at least 2015 to 2019. The Washington Free Beacon reported in December that Luria did not list her position on financial disclosure forms in 2018 and 2019, in violation of House ethics rules.

Luria, whose daughter attends a private middle school, railed against school choice and voucher programs on the campaign trail.

"I stand strongly against voucher systems," Luria said in 2018. "I stand strongly against any type of charter schools that would remove funding from our public education, because the public education that we provide across America is the foundation of our future generation."

Freshman representatives must report on their financial disclosure forms any non-federal positions held within two years of their election. Luria did not list her position at Tidewater Montessori High School, Inc.  on her 2018 candidate finance forms or her annual congressional reports in 2019 and 2020.

"Whether intentional or not, it seems that Rep. Luria failed to properly disclose her corporate position on any of her Congressional Financial Disclosure Statements," FACT executive director Kendra Arnold said in a statement. "Failing to do so is an egregious lack of transparency that erodes public trust and leaves citizens unaware of potential conflicts of interest."

While many public schools in Virginia remained closed for more than a year over coronavirus concerns, Luria's daughter's school reopened for in-person learning in the fall of 2020. Luria and other House Democrats in February 2021 blocked a Republican effort to give federal funds to schools that reopened during the pandemic.

Democrats who oppose school choice often send their children to private schools. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) lied about sending her son to a private school when pressed by a school-choice activist, after opposing private and charter schools on the presidential campaign trail in 2019. Former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill to boost charter school growth in the state, but sent at least four of his kids to the Potomac School in McLean, Va.