- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Jack Trammell, the Democratic nominee to fill ousted Rep. Eric I. Cantor’s seat in Virginia, has not yet filed personal financial disclosure forms, putting him on the wrong side of federal law and leaving voters in the dark about the college professor’s income, investments and potential debts.

Federal disclosure rules require congressional candidates to file ethics forms a month after they become serious candidates — triggered when they are nominated by a party or when they raise at least $5,000.

Mr. Trammell became a serious candidate for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District seat on June 8, meaning he should have filed his disclosure by the middle of July.

Alerted to his failure, Trammell campaign manager Beth Cope blamed an “oversight” and said they will file soon.

She said the campaign had received assurances from the House Office of the Clerk that no fines would be issued if he files by Aug. 16.

The House Clerk’s office did not respond to questions concerning those assurances on Wednesday.

Mr. Trammell, director of disability services at Randolph Macon College, isn’t be the first candidate who neglected to file a disclosure form this election cycle.

Last month, The Los Angeles Times reported that Republican candidate Elan S. Carr, who is seeking the seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman, failed to file disclosure report until officials were contacted by the newspaper.

A Carr campaign official later blamed the missed filing on an intern who “lost track of the project.”

Mr. Trammell was selected to run for the seat by the district’s Democratic committee. He faces David Brat, a fellow professor at Randolph Macon, who scored an historic upset over Mr. Cantor in the Republican primary election in June. Mr. Cantor had been the majority leader, the No. 2 leadership position in the House.

Craig Holman, legislative representative for the watchdog group Public Citizen, said financial disclosure forms contain critical information that provide the public with a way to discern potential conflicts of interest and “judge the merits of those who want to be our elected representatives.”

“This information needs to be publicly available on a timely basis well before an election to be of any value in order to allow the public sufficient time to ask questions and to uncover any troubling links,” Mr. Holman said.

“If Mr. Trammell wants to be a public official, the public has a right to demand a reasonable level of transparency of where his money comes from and to whom he may be indebted,” he said.

Mr. Trammell’s campaign received a boost after Mr. Brat’s startling, poll-defying primary victory over Mr. Cantor, who gave up his leadership post at the end of last month and is resigning his congressional seat this month.

From June 8 to June 30, Mr. Trammel raised $155,000, according to FEC filings.

In a statement posted on his campaign website, Mr. Trammell, who years ago wrote columns on military history for The Washington Times, said he earlier had considered running for office but “the situation in the 7th and in Washington finally convinced me that change was absolutely necessary.”

He said his first experience in public service began as a contracting assistant for the state of Kentucky in the late 1980s, where he was “ultimately nominated and named an Honorable Kentucky Colonel for his service.” He later returned to his home state of Virginia to become a teacher.

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