NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee's newest congressman, Rep. Andy Ogles, quickly became a key player in the battle for control of the House, demanding concessions in exchange for his support for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
But a NewsChannel 5 investigation discovered the freshman Republican has never complied with a federal law required of all congressional candidates.
That law requires candidates and members of Congress to disclose their personal finances, so voters can know if they have any conflicts of interest.
Not only did Andy Ogles ignore that law during the campaign, he continues to ignore it today, NewsChannel 5 found.
"It doesn't reflect well on the people he represents back in Tennessee," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of Open Secrets, a nonpartisan group that tracks the influence of money in politics. "It's not a grave oversight perhaps, but it really shouldn't happen."
The former mayor of Maury County, Ogles was elected to Congress in November, representing the newly redrawn 5th congressional district, which includes Lewis, Marshall and Maury counties, along with portions of Davidson, Williamson and Wilson counties.
As the speakership drama unfolded in the U.S. House, Ogles found himself at the center of attention. The Maury County Republican used his leverage as a new member of Congress, as Kevin McCarthy sought the votes he needed to be elected Speaker.
Yet, for his own election, Ogles never complied with one of the most basic of requirements for someone who wants to be elected to Congress.
The "ethics in government act financial disclosure statement" is required of candidates and members, listing all of "assets and unearned income" (for example, stocks), liabilities (any money they owe to someone else), agreements by anyone to pay them money, and sources of compensation in excess of $5,000 paid by one source.
"It is important because we'll often know what positions is taking, but our perception of those positions can change dramatically if it turns out there is a personal financial stake," Krumholz explained.
"There have been examples in the past where policies benefit, provide some financial gain to the members of Congress who sponsored them and supported them. That's just information that the constituents deserve to have."
Another person who hasn't filed: embattled New York congressman George Santos.
"It is pretty unusual," Krumholz said, "for a candidate to not file their personal financial disclosures. They can file for an extension. It's easy."
NewsChannel 5 Investigates followed up, "So there's no excuse for just not filing at all?"
"There really is no excuse," she agreed. "It's super simple to file for an extension. We see those all the time."
Ogles' office never responded to NewsChannel 5's questions about why he has not followed the law.
Failure to file such personal financial disclosures could result in up to a year in prison and fines up to $66,000 — although the more common penalty is a $200 fine.
Ogles' Democratic opponent, Heidi Campbell, filed her personal financial disclosure back in April.
"We, as Tennesseans, deserve to have representatives who are following the rules," Campbell told NewsChannel 5 Investigates.
"It's very frustrating as somebody who believes we need to be financially transparent, that we have a responsibility to our constituents to tell the truth and be honest about our finances."
During the campaign, Ogles was also late filing required disclosures about his campaign's finances, and when he did file, he reported taking in less money than he had publicly claimed.
Since then, the Federal Election Commission has sent him four letters regarding discrepancies in his reports.
"We citizens, we constituents really need to protect and demand our right to this information to be able to be a good guardian of our democracy," Krumholz said.
"It's too important to be lax in this way, especially with something so simple to address."