Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A campaign finance watchdog filed a complaint Monday alleging Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross could have violated the law by holding stock in companies that may have been affected by Trump administration directives.

Why it matters: Add this to the list of questions Ross has faced over his assets — a month ago the U.S. Office of Government Ethics warned him his "actions, including... continued ownership of assets required to be divested in [his] Ethics Agreement and... opening of short sale positions, could have placed [him] in a position to run afoul of the primary criminal conflict of interest law.”

The big picture: Former HHS Secretary Tom Price and former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt departed the administration after facing months of questions over similar legal and financial issues.

Details:

  • Ross may have violated three laws by delivering false statements and omissions about his holdings in congressional testimony and financial disclosures, the Campaign Legal Center alleges, per CNBC’s Dan Mangan.
  • The stock holdings in question: Invesco, which has acquired a “major” interest in Chinese steel, per the complaint, Greenbrier, "a steel-dependent rail car manufacturer," as well as Air Lease, and Sun Bancorp.
  • The complaint seeks the department’s Office of the Inspector General to open an investigation.
  • "Secretary Ross has not violated any conflict of interest law or regulation,” Ross’ lawyer said, per Mangan.

The Office of Government Ethics previously found they had no evidence to contradict Ross' claims about his holdings — that his failure to sell his stock holdings was "inadvertent."

Go deeper

The TikTok deal's for-show provisions and flimsy foundations

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The new deal to rescue TikTok from a threatened U.S. ban — full of provisions aimed at creating the temporary appearance of a presidential win — looks like a sort of Potemkin village agreement.

How it works: Potemkin villages were fake-storefront towns stood up to impress a visiting czar and dignitaries. When the visitors left, the stage set got struck.

  • Similarly, many elements of this plan look hastily erected and easily abandoned once the spotlight moves on.
5 mins ago - Technology

Over 3 million U.S. voters have already registered on social media

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

An estimated 2.5 million+ Americans have registered to vote on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, Facebook announced Monday. More than 733,000 Americans have registered to vote so far via Snapchat.

Why it matters: The broad reach of social media platforms makes them uniquely effective at engaging voters — especially younger voters who may not know how to register to vote or be civically engaged.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
25 mins ago - Economy & Business

Wall Street: Recession is over

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. economic activity fell more sharply in the second quarter of this year than during any other quarter in history. It's also going to grow more sharply in the third quarter of this year than during any other quarter in history.

  • The recession is over, according to Wall Street, with current forecasts showing sustained economic growth through 2021 and beyond.