Shalala: ‘I take full responsibility’ for failure to disclose stock sales
Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) says in a new interview that she and she alone bears responsibility for a failure to report several stock trades she made after winning office in 2018.
Speaking with CBS Miami, the Florida Democrat said that she knew of a law requiring her to report any stock trades within 45 days of making them, but missed the deadlines for filing her reports.
“Look, I knew what the law was,” she said. “I missed the deadlines. And I have to take responsibility, personal responsibility for doing that. No one else is responsible except for me.”
“It was my mistake and I take full responsibility,” Shalala added.
The congresswoman said in the interview that she sold several stocks shortly after being elected to Congress in 2018 in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest once she took office.
“I did file my disclosure report, so everybody knew what my holdings are,” said the congresswoman, adding: “They didn’t know I was unloading the entire portfolio so I could put everything into mutual [funds] basically to avoid any conflict of interest.”
Shalala said that she notified the House Ethics Committee when she realized her mistake, and was prepared to accept any fine or reprimand the committee levies.
“Whatever they think is appropriate,” she said. “Whether it’s a financial penalty or anything else. I’m really sorry I missed those deadlines in the process of trying to do the right thing.”
Each transaction that Shalala made that was not reported within 45 days could be subject to up to $200 in fines under the STOCK Act.
Revelation of the stock sales came just as the Florida congresswoman was named to a committee of lawmakers overseeing the disbursement of $500 billion in payouts to businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
A spokesman for Shalala previously told the Miami Herald that the congresswoman was unfamiliar with the rules due to being a freshman lawmaker.
“She had a misunderstanding about the periodic transaction report process and her need to report the sale of these stocks while preparing a blind trust,” Carlos Condarco told the Herald. “As a new member with a broker and attorney who were not familiar with the congressional disclosure rules, there was a misunderstanding.”