WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mahony took steps to revise his campaign biography and his federal financial disclosure forms after the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette asked questions about their accuracy this week.
Mistakes on the website have already been corrected, Mahony said Wednesday.
Errors and omissions on his U.S. Senate financial disclosure form filed Tuesday were flagged and reported to the secretary of the Senate. Tuesday and Wednesday, Mahony filed amended versions of the form four times, as he disclosed additional details about his finances.
Mahony announced in May that he was a Democratic candidate for the seat now held by U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Dardanelle up for re-election in 2020. Candidates for Congress must file financial disclosure forms.
Flaws on a federal report from Mahony's unsuccessful 2018 U.S. House race also are being addressed, campaign manager Keith Rosendahl said.
Mahony, who largely self-funded his House campaign, received 32.6% of the vote in his race against incumbent Republican Steve Womack in the state's 3rd Congressional District in November.
"Mr. Mahony has recently become aware that there was some oversight in his 2017 and 2018 financial disclosures during his previous campaign for United States Congress," Rosendahl said in a written statement. "He is being pro-active in this matter and is working with the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives to amend those disclosures and make his filings as transparent and as accurate as possible."
Asked when the correct information for the 2018 race will be released, Mahony wrote: "The amended report will be filed and made public in the coming days."
The campaign did not disclose the nature or scope of the 2018 reporting errors.
The Senate campaign website errors involved Mahony's work claims.
The first two lines on the joshuamahony.com home page originally stated: "Joshua Mahony is a native Arkansan, natural resources executive and long-time business owner. Born on a farm in El Dorado, Josh owns a natural resources company."
He is not currently a "natural resources executive." And he no longer owns a "natural resources company," he told the Democrat-Gazette during a telephone interview Wednesday.
"That was a clerical error. That should be cleaned up now," Mahony said.
The website now states: "Born on a farm in El Dorado, Josh is a fifth generation Arkansan and long-time small business owner."
The description of Mahony as a "long-time small business owner" is accurate, he said, though he currently has no business holdings.
Along with several cousins, Mahony previously owned a stake in one of his family's El Dorado businesses, he said. But he sold his "partnership interest" in EAM Co. LLC for $23,616, federal records show.
The transaction occurred in March 2018, according to Rosendahl, more than a year before Mahony opened his Senate bid.
Mahony had listed himself as a "board member" of EAM LLC on the financial disclosure report filed with the U.S. House in 2018. The position no longer appears on thel disclosure document filed this year with the Senate.
"EAM Company, LLC (EAM, LLC) was purchased by Mahony Corp. in 2018," Rosendahl said in the written statement. "After the time of purchase, Mr. Mahony's roles and responsibilities along with all financial dealings ceased."
Josh Mahony is not a member of the board of Mahony Corp., the timber, oil and natural gas company run by his family and founded by his grandfather, Emon Armstrong Mahony.
During his 2020 Senate campaign and his 2018 House race, Josh Mahony has highlighted his business credentials. His website states that Mahony is "familiar with the challenges facing entrepreneurs and local businesses, from rising healthcare costs to attracting and retaining a skilled workforce."
In Wednesday's interview, Mahony declined to estimate how many people EAM had employed while he was serving on its board. He would not disclose the percentage of the business that had belonged to him or state the company's overall value.
"We're reporting everything in our financial disclosure that we're legally obliged to," he said.
Mahony spent 18 years at the company, he said.
"I was involved regularly. Even though I lived in Fayetteville [and] the company was based out of El Dorado, when you're looking at geology reports, mineral rights leases and things like that, you can do all of that from a computer so it was regular communication and oversight," he said.
The candidate declined to provide the Democrat-Gazette with the names of others from the company who could verify his work claims.
Reached by telephone Wednesday evening, Mahony Corp. President Emon A. Mahony Jr., declined to discuss his nephew's performance at EAM Co.
Nor would Emon Mahony, EAM Co.'s manager and registered agent, discuss the scope of his nephew's responsibilities.
"There's no public interest in the workings of those corporations," he said. "And if you want to ask Joshua Mahony, call him and ask him. He's the one making the representations. Ask him."
The Democrat-Gazette began asking questions about Josh Mahony's business dealings after he repeatedly missed deadlines for filing federally mandated financial disclosure forms with the Senate.
Under the Ethics in Government Act, Mahony was supposed to disclose his income, assets and liabilities for 2018 and part of 2019 shortly after entering the Senate race.
But he failed to do so, even after seeking and receiving three 30-day time extensions; the last ended on Aug. 29.
Early Tuesday afternoon, a couple of hours after the Democrat-Gazette asked the campaign about the overdue information, Mahony filed the report with the secretary of the Senate.
But the document omitted any mention of EAM Co. LLC. And it listed no bank accounts belonging to Mahony.
After the paper sought additional information, Mahony filed an amended candidate report early Tuesday evening disclosing the sale of the EAM Co. LLC partnership interest. On the amended form, Mahony also reported $29,347 in "partnership distributions" from EAM.
The amended version also noted Mahony's ownership of a Rutan Long EZ experimental aircraft as well as a white 2012 Ford F-150.
Later Tuesday evening, Mahony filed a second amendment disclosing a joint account at Bancorp South in El Dorado worth $15,001 to $50,000. Shortly thereafter, he filed a third amended report, noting his joint ownership of a Mercedes valued at between $15,001 and $50,000. Earlier forms had portrayed the Mercedes as his wife's personal property.
The third amended report further revealed Mahony's ownership of a 1980 Fiat Spider sports car valued at between $1,001 and $15,000.
Wednesday morning, Mahony filed a fourth amended report, acknowledging that he has joint accounts at Bank of America in Fayetteville valued at between $50,001 and $100,000. Earlier versions had portrayed it as his wife's money.
(The U.S. Senate Financial Disclosures page can be accessed at arkansasonline.com/920filings/).
Mahony reported no wages in 2018 or the first portion of 2019 on his Senate form. Nor did he list earned income in 2017 on the public financial disclosure form he filed during his 2018 U.S. House race.
He did list royalties on his Senate form -- $1,072 from Lion Oil and $3,394 from Lanexx, a company that extracts bromine from the Smackover Formation.
He listed his wife's "current year to filing" earned income as $253,866 on the House financial disclosure form filed in April 2018.
His wife, Rhianon DeLeeuw, who served as treasurer of his 2018 campaign, was a senior director of consumables and health and wellness strategy at Walmart at the time. She subsequently was promoted to vice president, Walmart U.S. operations finance.
The Democrat-Gazette was unable to determine the last time Mahony has held full-time paid employment.
In Wednesday's interview, Mahony couldn't provide the year.
"I'm not certain. I'd have to go back and look. Frankly, I haven't put a lot of thought into that," he said.
During his time with EAM Co., Mahony received dividends, not wages, he added.
In his 2018 filing, Mahony valued his EAM Co. LLC stake between $15,001 and $50,000. He didn't indicate whether he'd received any income from the company "during the current year." The previous year, he'd received between $2,501 and $5,000 in income from the company, the document stated.
The 2018 House document listed none of the "partnership distributions" that appeared on the 2019 Senate filing. Nor does it mention EAM Co. LLC "dividends" for "the current year."
Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Michael John Gray downplayed the significance of Mahony rewriting his campaign biography.
"Josh Mahony cares about Arkansas and he cares about Arkansans in all four corners of the state," Gray said.
While Mahony's share in the business has been sold, "it doesn't take away from the fact that he spent the bulk of his life as a small-business owner," Gray said.
Any errors by the candidate were unintentional and will be corrected, he said.
"I think what you're seeing is some growing pains in a campaign, more or less," he added.
If elected, Mahony "will look for solutions instead of just simply playing Washington politics," Gray added.
Asked for comment, Cotton's campaign spokesman Brian Colas said, "Sen. Cotton is focused on his work for Arkansans in the Senate."
The filing period is from Nov. 4-12. The party primary elections are March 3 and the general election is Nov. 3, 2020.
Metro on 09/20/2019