FACT Calls for Probe of Joe Manchin
Updated: Mar 19, 2019
FACT Calls on Senate Ethics Committee to Investigate West Virginia Senator for Intentionally Hiding Investment Interests in Company Tied to Bankruptcies
The non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), today has filed a complaint with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics against U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) for failing to comply with all applicable personal financial disclosure laws and for filing inaccurate financial reports with respect to his ownership interest in AA Properties, LLC, a West Virginia limited liability company.
Senator Manchin, along with his longtime aide and West Virginia Democratic political operative, Larry Puccio, together own AA Properties. According to loan documents, AA Properties also had investment interests in companies that filed for bankruptcy and were involved in other civil litigation, including Emerald Coast Realty and Mountain Blue Hotel Group. According to published reports, Senator Manchin not only initially denied being an investor in AA Properties but also denied that AA Properties had investment ties to the other above-named companies. It is well documented that Manchin did indeed have an investment interest in other companies tied to AA Properties.
According to FACT’s complaint, the Senate Code of Official Conduct calls for elected representatives to file annually a “full and complete public financial disclosure.” Even though Senator Manchin’s previous financial reports disclosed his ownership interest in AA Properties dating back to 2010, he not only failed to disclose the full nature of the business and its underlying assets, but was less than forthcoming when pressed on it.
One media report said “’Manchin’s staff initially told newspapers that he was not an investor at AA at all but revised the status to acknowledge that he is.’ It was also reported that “’Puccio said he originally thought AA had dissolved. ‘I thought AA had been dissolved. AA had not been dissolved.’”
“There is absolutely no reason and no excuse for a U.S. Senator to not file accurate financial disclosures. The facts here show that Senator Manchin tried to cover-up his financial interests and mislead the media and the public,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT).
FACT also highlights that Manchin indicated AA Properties was in a blind trust even though it was listed as a separate asset on Manchin’s disclosure and in fact was not in the blind trust.
“Our elected officials are legally obligated to file personal financial disclosures that are comprehensive and forthcoming in nature, which includes listing all investment interests, to monitor and guard against potential conflicts of interests and to help ensure transparency and integrity in government. Not only did Senator Manchin try to thwart this effort, we still don’t know what he is hiding with respect to this financial arrangement,” Arnold added.