GOP congressional candidate Carl Paladino hasn’t filed a mandatory personal financial disclosure.
Paladino is wealthy Western New York real estate developer who’s routinely courted controversy.
Early voting for the NY-23 primary election began on August 13. Election Day is August 23.
Carl Paladino, a Donald Trump-boosting Republican running to represent New York’s 23rd Congressional District, is violating a federal conflict-of-interest and transparency law by not disclosing details about his own finances, an Insider review of congressional financial filings indicates.
Paladino — endorsed by third-ranking House Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York — is running against the chair of the New York Republican Party, Nick Langworthy, in the district’s open GOP primary. His late disclosure means that voters cannot review details about the ostensibly wealthy real estate developer’s income, investments, employment, and debts.
A congressional candidate could face an investigation or fine if he or she “knowingly and willfully falsifies a statement or fails to file a statement” in accordance with US House guidance, although officials rarely pursue such investigations.
Paladino’s campaign did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment until after publication of this article. In doing so, Paladino spokesperson Vish Burra said in an email Saturday that the Clerk of the US House of Representatives had granted Paladino a filing extention and that Paladino had filed his disclosure.
But Burra did not furnish Insider with a copy of a filing extension confirmation or Paladino’s disclosure itself.
Records maintained by the Clerk of the House of Representatives, meanwhile, do not indicate Paladino officially requested an extension or received one, and there’s no public record of his financial disclosure. The House clerk typically posts such documents to its public website within 24 hours of a document being filed, or the next business day if a candidate files documents over a weekend or holiday.
With less than a week until Election Day, and with early voting has already begun — voters were allowed to begin casting their ballots on August 13 — the public still could not review Paladino’s financial disclosure as of Saturday.
Earlier this month, Paladino’s campaign told the Buffalo News that Paladino hadn’t filed his financial disclosures because the Clerk of the House of Representatives “failed to supply this campaign with login credentials.” The campaign further noted that the clerk extended the filing period and that the disclosure was “in the process of being filed.”
Federal law requires all candidates to submit their personal financial disclosures within 30 days of an election no matter what. And in the event a candidate cannot or does not want to use Congress’ electronic filing system, they have the option to mail paper disclosures to the US House — there are also no congressional records of Paladino doing so.
Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, the government affairs manager at the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight, told Insider that it’s “unfair to the potential future constituents and the voters to not have that information before they’re casting their vote.
“It’s a little bit suspicious,” Hedtler-Gaudette added, “that the one thing that could potentially contain some interesting information is the one thing that they seem to not be able to do.”
The House Ethics Committee, the party that would be tasked with investigating Paladino’s violation, frequently overlooks STOCK Act infractions.
The committee is even more handicapped as of late after ranking member Rep. Jackie Walorski died in a car accident on August 3. The committee typically does not vote without having a full committee of 10 members.
Langworthy, Paladino’s opponent, submitted his 2021 annual personal financial disclosure in July. The disclosure shows that he invests in several mutual funds and the SPDR S&P 500.
Candidates running for a House office are required to file financial disclosures with the House after raising or spending $5,000 in cash, according to federal law and guidelines from the House Ethics Committee. Paladino crossed that threshold weeks ago.
Paladino formally declared his run for office in June 2022, shortly after Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs announced he would not seek re-election.
Paladino’s turbulent career in politics includes a 2010 run for New York state governor that he badly lost in the general election.
In 2016, while serving on the Buffalo School Board, he made sexist and racist remarks about then-first lady Michelle Obama. He later apologized. Fellow board members pressured him to resign, but he refused.
New York’s education commissioner ultimately removed Paladino from office in 2017 for, as the New York Times reported at the time, revealing confidential information about collective bargaining negotiations with the city’s teachers union.
Just this week, Paladino told Breitbart News that Attorney General Merrick Garland “should be executed” for green-lighting a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in pursuit of government records — a comment Paladino later said was “facetious.”
Paladino is primarily self-funding his congressional campaign. The chairman of a real estate development company, Paladino has loaned his campaign $1.5 million, or 99% of the campaign’s total money raised.
Paladino is a long-time supporter of Trump, although Trump has not yet endorsed a candidate in New York’s 23rd District — a decidedly red district that will almost certainly elect the winner of Paladino-Langworthy in November’s general election.
A push to ban congressional stock trading
Members of Congress and congressional candidates — Republicans and Democrats alike — have routinely violated
In the wake of the investigation, Congress has begun debating whether to ban lawmakers and their spouses from buying, selling, or holding individual stocks.
House Democrats have suggested they’ll hold a vote on the issue in September, though a vote has yet to be scheduled.
This article was originally published August 19 and updated to include comment from the Paladino campaign.
Read the original article on Business Insider