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Rep. Andy Harris accused of ethical violation for failing to disclose wife’s income

Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.)
Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) (Bill Clark/AP)

The Maryland Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint Wednesday against U.S. Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), accusing him of failing to report his wife’s consulting income on his financial disclosure forms.

Harris’s campaign and several GOP political committees paid Nicole Beus Harris more than $26,000 in 2017 for work she did through her firm, Indy’s Services, federal campaign finance records show. Harris stopped paying Indy’s Services before he and Beus Harris married that July. He did not list her firm’s income on his 2017 financial report.

In a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics, Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews said Harris, the sole Republican on Maryland’s congressional delegation, may have violated ethics rules requiring members to report the source of spousal income and assets.

“It appears Andy Harris paid his wife thousands of dollars from his campaign, then tried to hide it from government ethics regulators,” Matthews said in a statement.

The Harris campaign said the omission was a mistake and the congressman amended his filing once he became aware of the error.

The accusation involving Harris follows media reports about an ethics complaint filed against his Democratic rival, Jesse Colvin, by a Baltimore County Republican leader last week. Colvin a former Army intelligence officer, did not include a Northeast Washington condo his wife owns on his financial disclosure forms.

According to federal campaign finance reports, Harris first hired Indy’s Services in 2014 after meeting Nicole Beus at a campaign event. He paid the Maryland-based advertising and marketing firm more than $130,000 between 2014 and mid-2017.

Indy’s Services has done website, graphic design and social media work for local Republican candidates, including then-state Sen. Nancy Jacobs’s unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2012.

After Harris and Beus began dating, Harris continued to use her firm, records show, until two months before their July 2017 wedding. The Maryland Republican State Central Committee, to which Harris is one of the largest contributors, also has paid his wife for political consulting work.

In total, Beus Harris earned $26,445.36 in 2017 from the Harris campaign, the reelection campaign of state Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (R-Baltimore) and the state central committee, according to state and federal campaign finance data.