Devin Nunes declares ag income after ‘fake farmer’ charge


Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, joined at left by Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., questions National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents.

AP file

Rep. Devin Nunes for the first time since at least 2007 is reporting income from an agricultural property in Tulare County.

The congressman’s disclosure of farm income comes two years after a group of critics challenged his description of himself as a farmer in election material sent to voters.

Nunes, R-Tulare, in a new filing said he earned between $15,000 and $50,000 in income from the agricultural property. He first disclosed owning the property last year, although he did not report income from it at the time.

Nunes, who has served in Congress since 2003, grew up in a dairy family and has identified himself as a farmer and congressman for years on election ballots.

In 2018, a group of critics contested that description, charging that Nunes did not earn income from agriculture. The group, which included a retired farmer from Nunes’ district, lost its challenge in court and Nunes was allowed to continue describing himself as a farmer to voters.

Nunes’ campaign last year filed a lawsuit against the group alleging retired farmer Paul Buxman and liberal activists conspired to defame him. Nunes dropped the lawsuit soon after filing it.

All members of Congress are required to report their assets, positions and liabilities on an annual financial disclosure due in May. It’s common for members to ask for extensions, which Nunes did this year.

Nunes’ office did not respond to questions about what sort of farm Nunes owned or how many acres of land he owns. His financial disclosure lists him as the owner of the farm but does not specify anything besides that the farm is located in Tulare County.

He says the farm is valued somewhere between $15,000 and $50,000, an increase over last year when he said it was valued between $1,000 and and $15,000. The financial disclosures only require members of Congress to report ranges of incomes or values, not the exact amount.

Nunes is also a limited partner in three wineries — Alpha Omega Winery, Perinet and Phase 2 Cellars — positions that have not changed since his last financial disclosure. He claims no income from those partnerships, but they are listed as assets that are worth anywhere from $115,000 to $250,000.

Nunes is being challenged this fall by Democrat Phil Arballo, a financial adviser.

Arballo’s main source of income is from his financial advising business, according to his candidate disclosure, and he has no claimed assets other than that business and bank and retirement accounts. He also made income in 2019 from Uber and Lyft, though he reported no income from those companies in 2020.

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Kate Irby is based in Washington, D.C. and reports on issues important to McClatchy’s California newspapers, including the Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee and Modesto Bee. She previously reported on breaking news in D.C., politics in Florida for the Bradenton Herald and politics in Ohio for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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