‘Toothless’: With stock trading ban blocked, lawmakers continue to violate ‘ridiculously weak law’


A running tally updated Tuesday shows more than 60 members of Congress recently violated a federal law aimed at preventing insider trading, a finding that comes as proposals to ban federal lawmakers from trading stocks languish in the House and the Senate.

According Initiated63 sitting members of Congress – 31 Democrats and 32 Republicans – “failed to properly report their financial transactions as required by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, also known as the STOCK Act.”

The list includes prominent lawmakers such as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Rep. Madison Cawthorn, RN.C., who lost his first race last week.

Riddled with loopholes and vastly toothless, the STOCK Act requires lawmakers to disclose stock and other securities transactions worth more than $1,000 within 45 days, a rule aimed at shedding light on members of Congress who attempt to profit from non-public information.

“While lawmakers who violate the STOCK Act face a fine, the penalty is usually low – $200 is the standard amount – or waived by House or Senate ethics officers,” Initiated Remarks.

The lawmaker’s tally was updated after the investigative log Mud identified three other senators who recently violated the STOCK Act’s timely reporting mandate: Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas.

“As Congress stalls on a Congressional stock trading bill, its members continue to violate ridiculously weak existing rules,” tweeted Walter Shaub, senior ethics researcher at the Project on Government Oversight and former head of the Office of Government Ethics.

MudDavid Moore and Donald Shaw reported on May 25 that “the deadline for members of Congress to file their annual financial returns for 2021 was last week, May 16.”

“But as usual, most members have taken advantage of a 90-day extension that will give them until August to post their reports,” Moore and Shaw noted. “The disclosures list their household assets, as well as other information such as outside positions and travel reimbursements, and are often posted online as hundreds of pages of unreadable paper scans.”

Mud reported that Hickenlooper “was an active stock trader in 2021, his freshman year in the Senate, filing seven [periodic transaction reports] for trades, including a six-day sale of tech company stocks in late October and early November.”

That tech sale, according to the report, included Hickenlooper “fully offloading” its holdings in Amazon, Alphabet, Apple, Facebook and other businesses, with a total maximum value of more than $4 million.

A longstanding problem on Capitol Hill, insider trading received renewed attention early in the coronavirus pandemic as a number of lawmakers were accused of trying to take advantage of the public health emergency. using inside information, such as warnings gleaned from secret meetings with public health. officials.

A recent analysis of financial disclosures estimated that members of Congress traded $355 million worth of stock in 2021.

Earlier this year, amid rising anger over congressional stock trading, House and Senate Democrats introduced or strengthened legislation that would impose an outright ban on stock trading. actions by legislators and their immediate family members.

Despite backing from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California — whose husband is a prolific business owner — and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., neither house has put forward a proposal prohibition.


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