The Trump-aligned freshman lawmaker was charged with felonies for interfering with law enforcement by providing false information, voting without being qualified and unlawful advance voting, while the misdemeanor charge is for failing to notify the DMV he changed his address, the Kansas City Star reported.
The charges were filed by Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay, a Republican, 30 minutes before the first televised debate of the primary race.
Watkins allegedly voted in the incorrect city council district and has admitted to listing a Topeka UPS store as his address when voting in a 2019 local election,though at the time Watkins’ office said he accidentally listed a mailing address instead of his physical address.
According to the Kansas City Star, citing sources familiar with the matter, Watkins used the UPS store as his address because he wanted to hide the fact he was living with his parents.
Watkins is also under investigation from the Federal Election Commission involving separate allegations that his father gave illegal donations to his 2018 campaign, Politico reported.
Bryan Piligra, spokesman for Watkins’ re-election campaign, called the charges “bogus” and said the congressman was being “politically prosecuted by his opponents who can’t accept the results of the last election,” adding that the DA “shares a political consultant” with Watkins’ Republican primary challenger Jake LaTuner. (Neither Kagay nor LaTurner immediately responded to a request for comment from Forbes.)
I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. I’ve previously reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San