Republican Representative Michael “Mike” Garcia (CA-25, north-Los Angeles) is the only sitting Member of Congress not to have filed financial disclosures during the 2020 filing period. This isn’t to say Garcia did anything wrong: he has disclosed as a candidate for his House seat twice, but took office several after the initial May 13th filing deadline for sitting representatives. He’s running in November against a Democrat who beat him in an open primary before losing in the subsequent runoff election. It’s an edge case that helps to illustrate the peculiarities of the disclosure process.
The fact that Garcia both seems to be in compliance with STOCK Act regulations, and is also the only sitting Member of Congress to not file a Member’s disclosure illustrates the cracks in the system. In May of 2019, Garcia filed and was granted an extension for his 2019 candidate financial disclosures, which he submitted in late July of that year. At the time, the March 3rd 2020 election that Garcia was filing to run in was an open primary against Katie Hill, the freshman Democrat representing CA-25. In October 2019, Hill announced her resignation from Congress, after a personal scandal. After a period of confusion, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the special election for Hill’s seat would be held on March 3rd, with a potential runoff on March 12th. The other fifty-two California house seats held their open primaries for the November general election on the same day. Garcia finished second to Christy Smith in the special open primary on March 3rd, but won the runoff nine days later. Other candidates included former Republican Rep. Steve Knight, who Hill beat in 2018, and The Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur. In a bizarre quirk of the California electoral system, another March 3rd open primary also selected the two candidates for the November general election, Smith and Garcia. He assumed office on May 19th, 2020. FiveThirtyEight rated CA-25 as the second most likely held seat to flip in the 2020 House elections, due to Hill’s win in 2018 along with a general movement towards Democrats in California.
The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 and the STOCK Act of 2012 outline the rules for financial disclosures for both sitting members of Congress and candidates. As a hopeful 2020 candidate, Garcia filed his financial disclosures before his potential seat became open, but after Hill’s resignation. As a candidate for the November general election, Garcia filed his candidate disclosures in June 2020, less than a month after assuming office. However, the deadline for filing financial disclosures as a member of congress is May 13th, 2020. Garcia wasn’t sworn in until May 19th, meaning that he didn’t technically file any annual disclosures as a Representative, despite filing disclosures as a candidate for the office that he currently holds. Garcia’s November opponent, Christy Smith, filed her candidate disclosures for the March special election, covering 2019, and the general election, covering 2020, three and a half months apart.