Three years ago, the North Carolina congressman Mark Meadows sold a hundred-and-thirty-four-acre property in Dinosaur, Colorado. The buyer was Answers in Genesis, a Christian nonprofit based in Kentucky, which was founded by the Australian creationist Ken Ham. Answers in Genesis is dedicated to promoting young-Earth creationism, which holds that the Earth was created in six days, several thousand years ago. According to documents related to the sale, Meadows was to be paid about two hundred thousand dollars for the property, in monthly installments, the last of which was paid last year.
Neither the sale nor any such payments are noted on Meadows’s congressional financial disclosures, which he is required by law to file annually. Meadows is a founding member of the very conservative House Freedom Caucus and is one of the more prominent members of Congress; last year, Donald Trump reportedly considered making him the White House chief of staff. Why didn’t Meadows disclose the property or the sale? The congressman declined to comment for this story. In August, the Charlotte Observer reported that Meadows—who, before becoming a congressman, was a successful real-estate developer—owned land in northeastern North Carolina that he had also failed to list on his disclosure reports. It’s possible that these nondisclosures reflect a pattern of ignoring congressional reporting rules.