- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Senate candidate John Fetterman violated federal law by failing to disclose eight properties he owns, a watchdog group said Tuesday.

Mr. Fetterman, a Democrat and Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, “failed to report numerous assets,” the conservative-backed Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust said in a complaint filed with the Senate Ethics Committee.

Mr. Fetterman owns eight properties with a combined worth of $108,000, according to county records researched by the watchdog group. All of the parcels are located in Braddock, Pennsylvania.

The most expensive lot is worth $41,500 and the least valuable is a $700 parcel.

The ethics complaint that was submitted this week follows Mr. Fetterman’s attacks on his Republican opponent, celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, over his own, far more valuable property inventory.

Mr. Oz, a former talk show host and cardiothoracic surgeon, was bashed recently by the Fetterman campaign for telling voters he owned two homes, when he owns 10 houses, including a large estate in Ireland and an oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach worth $35 million.

Mr. Fetterman, who has remained mostly off the campaign trail following a stroke, used his Twitter account to ridicule Mr. Oz with a thread listing his full real estate inventory, with photos.

“Someone who doesn’t even know how many homes they own can NOT be trusted to fight for actual Pennsylvanians,” Mr. Fetterman tweeted. “Dude is completely out of touch + is not one of us 100%.”

The watchdog group said Mr. Fetterman was required under Senate ethics rules to disclose his own property because the rules require reporting any asset with a fair market value exceeding $1,000.

“It appears all of these properties should have been disclosed on Mr. Fetterman’s personal financial disclosure,” said FACT Executive Director Kendra Arnold. “Candidates are well aware of their obligation to comply with the law and have an affirmative duty to do so.

“Moreover, when a Senate candidate fails to comply with the disclosure laws, it is indicative as to whether they will comply with the law if elected — and it is especially concerning when they don’t.”

The watchdog group said Mr. Fetterman’s failure to list the property is also a violation of federal disclosure laws for lawmakers and candidates.

A spokesman for Mr. Fetterman said he did not violate any rules or laws because Senate disclosure regulations include exceptions for reporting assets.  

“These properties don’t produce any income and are not investment properties, so John did not need to disclose them,” spokesman Nicholas Gavio told The Washington Times.

According to Senate ethics rules for lawmakers and candidates, they must report any real property held for investment of income.

“Generally, you are not required to report a residence if it is not used to produce rental income,” the 2021 financial disclosure rules state.

All of the lots owned by Mr. Fetterman except one are vacant and are adjacent to Mr. Fetterman’s home. One lot houses a shed-like structure.

Mr. Fetterman is leading Mr. Oz in most recent polling by about 5 points but has come under fire for failing to level with voters and the media about health problems.

Mr. Fetterman suffered a stroke in May and has mostly remained off the campaign trail. In his limited public appearances, he struggles to find words and form sentences.

The Washington Post has called on Mr. Fetterman to disclose his medical records.

• Susan Ferrechio can be reached at sferrechio@washingtontimes.com.

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