Minimum 48 members of Congress and 182 top Capitol Hill staffersRecently released legislation states that they have violated a law to increase transparency and prevent conflicts between interests in stock trading in Washington. Insider investigation found.
According to the Insider According to the report, members from both major parties have infringed on the STOCK Act. Among them, violations occurred between Democrats and Republicans. Late reporting is the main reason for violations by Capitol Hill staffers and Congressmen. Some disclosures can be as late as four years. Many of these disclosures demonstrate conflicts of interest between lawmakers’ investments and the industries they govern.
Even though late reporting violations can be subject to a fee for payment, this fee amounts to essentially a slap in the face for members of Congress. majority of whom are millionaires. Fees are typically just several hundred dollars, while many of the stock trades by members of Congress are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars — if not millions or tens of millions.
Although some violations were for trades with small values or a few days late in disclosure, others were more serious. Insider found. Rep. Pat Fallon (Republican from Texas) made hundreds of stock trades this year that he disclosed months later, totaling around $17.5million.
Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-New Jersey) didn’t disclose dozens of trades that he made this year and last year until he was prodded by reporters; Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) was late to disclose nearly 130 stock trades from the first half of this year. Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-Tennessee), meanwhile, failed to properly report over 700 stock trades that she and her husband made this year — worth as much as $10.9 million.
Many of the 200 Capitol Hill staffers who broke the STOCK Act gave questionable excuses. Some staff members claimed they didn’t attend the required ethics training covering trading rules. weren’t aware of the law or that they weren’t sure how to disclose the trades. Many of the dozens of people who were involved in these trades were not aware of it. InsiderContacted for comment, they were not able to provide any explanations.
An anonymous source familiar with the Senate ethics panel stated that late disclosures are common due to lax enforcement. Monetary penalties are relatively low, starting at $200 for filings that are over 30 days late — and if it’s a staffer’s first offense or if they’re forthright about their reason for disclosing trades late, they are often able to get the fee waived entirely. Waivers are not allowed, but they are rare. InsiderFive staff members were available to provide copies for waivers.
The investigation also found that many lawmakers have personal financial interests in industries that they’re tasked with regulating; for instance, 22 Democrats who typically vote on environmental and climate issues have reported owning stocksIn major oil and natural gas companies such as Exxon and Shell.
At least 15 members serve on the Armed Services committeesCompanies in the group have been able to invest in top defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Companies in the oil and gas defenseIndustries are notoriously given hundreds of billions of dollars each year in government subsidies via direct bailouts and tax loopholes.
The pandemic has also been the subject of questionable trades by lawmakers. Many government officials have made questionable trades regarding the pandemic. Jerome Powell, Federal Reserve ChairThey have been criticized for making suspiciously opportunistic trades in the two years prior to the pandemic that caused a crash on the stock market or a boom of certain stocks.
The Insider report found that at least 75 lawmakers held shares in the three major vaccine makers — Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna — as coronavirus vaccines were being developed last year. Officials had access to information about the pandemic that was not made public.
These STOCK Act violations lend credence to progressive lawmakers’ campaign to bar top government officials from being able to trade stock altogether. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) Has been introducedStock trading would be banned by legislation Members of CongressCabinet members, top officials, federal judges, and White House officials.
“We have entrusted these people with great power. They owe us great transparency,” Public Citizen’s Walter Shaub told Insider. “They are not even giving us minimal transparency.”