The Iowa Democratic Party on Monday asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks' 2020 financial disclosure, saying the ophthalmologist representing Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District omitted information.
“I’m very concerned Mariannette Miller-Meeks doesn’t want to play by the rules and she doesn’t think transparency is important,” Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn said Monday.
Miller-Meeks filed her new filer financial disclosure report Aug. 13. The two-page report says “none disclosed” for assets and “unearned” income, liabilities, positions or agreements, The Gazette reported on Sept. 17.
For her earned income for 2020, Miller-Meeks reported $100,000 for her salary as a U.S. representative, although she didn’t start that job until January 2021. It’s possible she intended that amount to represent the share of her $174,000 congressional salary she’d been paid through Aug. 13, when the report was filed.
Miller-Meeks did not list her $25,000 annual salary from the Iowa Senate, where she served from January 2019 to January 2021. Will Kiley, a spokesman for Miller-Meeks, told The Gazette on Sept. 15 his boss would update her form to add her Iowa Senate salary, but no update had been filed as of Monday.
Eric Woolson, a Miller-Meeks for Congress spokesman, said in an email Monday: “The Congresswoman's office is working with the House Ethics Committee and House Clerk's office on several substantive questions to resolve the discrepancies of her most recent personal financial report. This will ensure that her upcoming amended report covers all the necessary bases. We anticipate that the amended report will be filed as soon as her staff receives the answers to those questions.”
Kiley said in September said Miller-Meeks does not have any outside income, including from IRAs or 401(k)s, that she would be required to report on the form.
The Democratic Party complaint disputes this. It pointed to Federal Elections Commissions records showing Miller-Meeks loaned her 2020 campaign $95,000 in March 2020 and $100,000 in October 2020.
“She loaned her campaign almost $200,000, so to say she has no assets or income is suspicious,” Wilburn said. “Where did the money come from?”
The request for investigation cites the inaccurate salary information Miller-Meeks filed Aug. 13. Miller-Meeks also failed to list on the new filer report $34,646 in income from Great River Health Systems and her state pension that she listed on a candidate disclosure report in May 2020 covering Jan. 1, 2019, through May 5, 2020.
Miller-Meeks reported on her Aug. 13 financial disclosure form she was paid at least $5,000 in 2020 in deferred compensation from the Great River Health System in Burlington, where she was employed. But the Iowa Democratic Party said that disclosure was made in the wrong section.
“The law and guidance are clear that only fees generated by individuals with an ownership interest in their employer should be included on Schedule J,” the complaint states. “If Rep. Miller-Meeks has an ownership interest in Great River Health Systems, she must disclose that interest immediately.”
The Iowa Democratic Party is requesting an immediate investigation to “ensure that Rep. Miller-Meeks complies with federal law and that the public is granted full disclosure of Rep. Miller-Meeks’ finances as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.”
The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center last month raised questions about the financial disclosures of seven congressional members, including Rep. Cindy Axne, a Democrat representing Iowa’s 3rd District. The center said Axne did not report more than 40 transactions with a potential financial range of $43,000 to $645,000, The Gazette reported.
Axne had updated those reports by last week.