Ethics Watchdog Calls for Probe into California Congressman, TJ Cox
Updated: Oct 27, 2020
Evidence Shows Cox Violated the United States House of Representatives Ethics Rules
Washington, D.C.— August 18, 2020— Today, the non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to immediately investigate Congressman TJ Cox of California for violating United States House of Representatives ethics rules.
According to media reports, on July 1, 2020, Yosemite National Park officials denied Congressman Cox’s request for two vehicle passes on July 4, 2020. The request was denied “due to the personal nature of this visit” and the officials suggested he attempt to obtain passes (which were being limited to 340 for the day) through the same procedure the general public is required to follow. The National Park's general policy for when tickets were limited allowed for “tickets to be provided to Members of Congress outside the process available to the public only when the visit is for official purposes." Cox then proceeded to schedule a call with the Superintendent on July 2, 2020 and apparently claimed that his visit to the park was for official business. However, the facts, including the video Cox took of himself, indicate his visit was clearly for personal or political purposes.
The filing states, “The ethics rules do not allow Members to use their official position for private or political purposes, i.e., to obtain tickets not available to the general public under the guise of official business. Not only does the Office of Congressional Ethics need to immediately investigate whether Cox abused his official position to obtain a benefit not available to the general public, but also to determine the true purpose of Cox’s trip, who accompanied him, and whether any official funds or staff were used for the travel.”
“Given the circumstances and evidence, it certainly appears that Congressman Cox used his official position to circumvent the normal process all citizens have to go through. He then attempted to justify his trip by releasing a political video lobbying for a bill, which, by nature, would not qualify as official business," said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT.
FACT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas. For more on FACT, visit: http://www.factdc.org/