Rep. Cox (D) Pays Years-Old Debt to Employees Before Disclosure Due

California freshman congressman was treasurer for troubled nonprofit

Rep. TJ Cox (CA-21) / Getty Images

California Democratic representative T.J. Cox recently paid overdue wages to three Canadian employees, settling an issue that had lingered for more than four years. If the payments had not been made, Cox would have been required to itemize them as an outstanding debt on an upcoming financial disclosure.

McClatchy newspapers obtained documents showing Cox paid $58,000 to the workers on August 9th, 12th, and 13th. His latest congressional disclosure was due on August 13th.

"One employee was owed $11,000, another $20,000 and the last $27,000. But neither Cox nor the company paid the agreed upon amounts for years, prompting government officials to attempt to seize his property and take liens against the company's mining assets in the Yukon territory of Canada," the Sacramento Bee reported on Wednesday.

This revelation is the latest in a string of difficulties for the freshman representative since he took office in January. He won one of the closest House races in the country — so close it wasn't officially decided until almost a month after Election Day.

The Bee said Cox declined the paper's request for comment.

In February, the city of Fresno released an audit of a nonprofit for which Cox served as treasurer, highlighting irregular loan practices involving "corporate officers" of the nonprofit, and also finding that the nonprofit lacked documentation on basic transactions and struggled to correctly balance its checkbook.

Cox and his office repeatedly ignored or brushed back requests for comment from the Washington Free Beacon about the nonprofit and the audit.

Roughly one month later, he severed his ties with the nonprofit, and the local district attorney is investigating the accounting irregularities.

Even after he had quit the nonprofit, Cox defended it in a local television interview, saying "no good deed goes unpunished."

"I kind of just wish that they would just say ‘Thank you so much for what you've done,' right, to make this available to the city."

In April, the Fresno Bee reported that Cox had failed to list numerous business investments and interests on his congressional disclosure forms dating to 2018 when he was a candidate.

Apart from his personal business dealings, Cox also suffered a political embarrassment while chairing a subcommittee meeting on climate change in February. When too few Democrats attended the meeting, Republicans commandeered it and shut it down with an adjournment vote.

Cox represents California’s 21st Congressional District, which includes the San Joaquin Valley. He had originally moved to Modesto to run for the 10th Congressional District, but then later moved back to Fresno to run there.