Six citizens in California have filed an ethics complaint against freshman Representative T.J. Cox (D.) alleging he violated House rules by omitting some business interests from his 2018 congressional disclosures which are required not only of incumbents, but also of candidates.
The complaint comes weeks after the largest paper in Cox's district, the Fresno Bee, revealed that the congressman's disclosure forms submitted during the campaign appeared to omit some key business interests he still had ties to.
"The congressman has stressed he's working to divest from his various interests, but his disclosures do not seem to show the full scale of those business ties," the Bee reported in early April.
"A Bee investigation found that Cox failed to disclose ties to five businesses, two of which he is still listed as a primary owner or director."
In one of those cases, Cox failed to disclose his activity as a member of the board of directors for a mining company based in Canada.
"At best, Representative Cox was grossly negligent in complying with the financial disclosure requirements and in failing to provide voters with complete and accurate information to make an informed selection of a candidate," the complaint, which was first reported by SJVSun.com, reads.
"At worst, Representative Cox willfully concealed accurate financial information regarding current ties and past legal issues."
Cox's race in California's 21st Congressional District in the San Joaquin Valley last year was so close it wasn't decided until a manual recount was completed almost a month after Election Day, in which Cox squeaked by incumbent Republican David Valadao by less than 1000 votes.
Cox was later asked about the Bee report on the disclosures problem in an interview by a local television station, but the congressman's reply didn't provide any straightforward answers.
"What they forgot to tell you is, any of these things—and there wasn't any of them where—one, they were already shut down, had no assets or revenues," he told KSEE from his Capitol Hill office. "That's uh, that would've been a very pertinent piece of information."
He also implied that the Bee may have had an "agenda" against him.
Cox has also been under pressure about a nonprofit in the Fresno area for which he served as the treasurer, but an audit released this February showed the organization lacked basic controls "for monitoring revenues earned and expenses incurred," and essentially could not balance its checkbook.
Requests for comment from the Washington Free Beacon to Cox's congressional office about the ethics complaint were not returned.