Congress Members Implicated In Alleged STOCK Act Violations

( Yet another member of Congress is facing allegations of violating ethics rules and also violating the STOCK Act.

Last week, a watchdog group requested that the Office of Congressional Ethics investigate Democratic Representative Katherine Clark for allegedly not disclosing $285,000 in financial transactions in a timely manner. Clark, from Massachusetts, is the assistant speaker of the House.

The STOCK Act stands for the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act. It’s meant to prevent members of the government from using the information they gain as government employees to their financial advantage — such as trading stocks based on insider knowledge about upcoming legislation or regulations.

During the pandemic, the STOCK Act gained a lot of attention, as many lawmakers have been suspected of using the information they knew about upcoming roles the government would play in trying to boost the economy.

In recent weeks, other prominent politicians have faced similar accusations. This includes Republican Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky, and Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

Clark is being accused of failing to disclose properly 19 personal stock transactions that her husband initiated within the required 45-day window. The ethics complaint says these investments included Alphabet Inc., First Solar, BlackRock, Best Buy, GlaxoSmithKline, Iron Mountain, and Xylem Inc.

Each of the transactions were valued somewhere between $19,019 to $285,000. They were all made on June 4, according to the complaint, but weren’t disclosed until August 15.

Another watchdog group, The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, filed complaints against Wasserman Schultz and Representatives Kathy Castor from Florida and Lori Trahan of Massachusetts. The group alleges all three lawmakers didn’t disclose financial transactions in a timely manner.

They made another complaint against Democratic Senator Mark Kelly from Arizona as well, but the Ethics Committee in the Senate resolved all the questions about the transactions in question.

The executive director of FACT, Kendra Arnold, said:

“These disclosure reports are the only way for citizens and watchdog organizations to monitor election officials and determine if they are profiting from positions. The only way to determine this in a timely manner is if they file the reports on time. Some lawmakers file the reports two years or six months late.”

The Wasserman Schultz complaint says she purchased $15,000 Westell Technologies stock. In addition to that, the complaint alleges that her dependent child also purchased $45,000 worth of stock in the telecommunications company.

Both of those purchases were made back in October of 2020, but Wasserman Schultz never disclosed them until July of 2021.

Arnold commented specifically on the STOCK Act, saying all lawmakers are well aware of it and what it requires. She said:

“All members are trained on this law. It is a commonly known law. When it was passed, it was high profile. It is especially puzzling when longstanding Senate and House members don’t follow it.”

These aren’t the only lawmakers who are facing ethics allegations, either. What comes of it all remains to be seen.