Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Wealthy congressional candidates are pouring millions into their own campaigns but failing to file mandatory disclosure forms, keeping voters in the dark about how they got their cash.

Why it matters: Unlike regular donors, candidates can give unlimited sums to their campaigns. Watchdogs say knowing the source is crucial to vetting potential conflicts of interest and ensuring hidden supporters won't unduly influence them in office.

  • Ignoring the law also speaks to a lack of fear of the congressional ethics officials charged with enforcing transparency requirements.

What's happening: In Arizona, Republican Senate candidate Jim Lamon has lent $2 million to his own campaign. He also poured another $2 million into a conservative voter registration group in the state days before he entered the race in early May.

  • The deadline for Lamon to file his personal financial disclosure form passed about six weeks ago. He has yet to do so or request an extension, according to the Senate Ethics Committee's website.
  • Two of his GOP primary rivals, both of whom entered the race after Lamon, have filed their personal financial disclosure statements.
  • Lamon is a solar energy executive, but the lack of a financial disclosure filing makes it difficult to know precisely how he derives his current income and what assets he holds.
  • In an emailed statement to Axios, a Lamon spokesperson said he he is "working diligently with his team of accountants, financial planners, and lawyers to ensure his financial disclosure is accurate, complete, and fully complies with the letter and spirit of all financial disclosure requirements."

In North Carolina, House candidate Sandy Smith has lent her campaign $110,000 this year. She ran for the same congressional seat last year and lent the campaign another $325,000.

  • Smith has not filed personal financial disclosures during either of her House runs.
  • She also failed to do so last year during an ill-fated effort to primary Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

The big picture: Financial disclosure filings are legally mandatory. "Knowingly and willfully" failing to file can subject candidates to tens of thousands of dollars in fines and disciplinary action from congressional ethics officials.

  • Candidates nevertheless routinely flout disclosure deadlines and rarely face penalties for doing so.
  • Omar Navarro, a perennial Republican challenger to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), is mounting his fourth consecutive House run this cycle.
  • He hasn't filed a personal financial disclosure statement since 2015.

What they're saying: "This information is especially relevant for candidates who rely solely on their financials assets to fund their campaigns," said Kedric Payne, the general counsel and senior director for ethics at the Campaign Legal Center.

  • "Voters may question whether candidates seek office to serve personal interests or the public's interest if they are not transparent from the start," Payne said.

Those disclosures can also prompt additional questions about the sources of money candidates use to self-fund.

  • Another North Carolina House candidate, Bo Hines, has lent his campaign $275,000. Unlike Smith and Lamon, Hines has submitted a personal financial disclosure filing in late June.
  • That filing lists just one asset, a blind trust of "undetermined" value, and annual income of between $124,000 and $224,000, making it unclear where Hines, a recent college graduate, got the money to lend to his congressional bid.
  • His campaign also did not respond to inquiries from Axios.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include comments from a Lamon campaign spokesperson.

Go deeper

Senate passes $2.1 billion Capitol security funding bill

U.S. Capitol police officers testify during a House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot on July 27, 2021. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via Xinhua

The Senate passed a $2.1 billion Capitol security funding bill Thursday by a 98-0 vote.

Why it matters: The legislation provides funding for the Capitol Police, the National Guard and other agencies to cover the costs incurred during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Ex-Cardinal McCarrick charged with sexually assaulting teen in 1970s

Theodore McCarrick in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked in 2019, has been charged with sexually assaulting a teenage boy in the 1970s, AP reports.

Why it matters: McCarrick is the first cardinal in the U.S. to "ever be criminally charged with a sexual crime against a minor," AP notes, citing Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer for the man allegedly abused by McCarrick.

For FEMA head, trip to wildfire regions reaffirms drive to address climate change

A firefighter crew from New Mexico walks along a path in the mountains west of Paisley, Oregon on July 23, 2021. Photo: Maranie Staab/Bloomberg via Getty Images

FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell's first trip out West since being confirmed in April reinforced her view that the agency must tackle climate change's influence on disasters, such as wildfires and droughts.

Why it matters: FEMA is the lead agency for providing aid to states hit hard by ongoing fires, already approving 19 Fire Management Assistance Grants. The trip illustrated the present-day impacts of climate change, with the twin challenges of fires and drought plainly evident, she told Axios.