House Ethics panel reviewing Rep. Malinowski’s stock trades

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.)
Greg Nash

The House Ethics Committee publicly acknowledged for the first time on Tuesday that it is reviewing whether Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), one of the most vulnerable House Democrats heading into next year’s midterms, violated ethics rules and federal law.

Two ethics complaints were filed against Malinowski earlier this year after Business Insider reported that he failed to disclose stock transactions worth at least $671,000 in violation of a federal law designed to prevent insider trading by members of Congress. The Associated Press also found that Malinowski bought or sold as much as $1 million of stock in medical and tech companies with a stake in the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Malinowski has since acknowledged the omissions, telling the AP that it was “a mistake that I own 100%.” He has also since placed his assets into a blind trust.

The Ethics Committee has not opened a formal investigation into Malinowski, but rather is reviewing a report from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), an independent entity that probes allegations of misconduct and then makes referrals to the panel.

Only the House Ethics Committee, which is composed of an even number of Democrats and Republicans, can formally punish lawmakers found of wrongdoing.

“Rep. Malinowski continues to participate in this routine process in good faith, and remains committed to complete transparency with the public; going beyond the requirements for Members of Congress by placing his holdings in an Ethics Committee approved qualified blind trust,” Malinowski’s office said in a statement.

Malinowski, who has served in the House since 2019, only narrowly won reelection last year against his GOP challenger by just over 1 point. Malinowski flipped his district from a long-serving Republican incumbent during the 2018 midterm elections, in which Democrats won the House majority.

The House Ethics Committee also announced Tuesday that it is extending reviews of potential misconduct by three other lawmakers: Reps. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.) and Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.).

Roll Call reported last month that an OCE report found that Mooney spent thousands of dollars in campaign funds on personal expenses, including meals and family trips to West Virginia resorts, and failed to properly report more than $40,000 in expenses.

Mooney paid back his campaign more than $12,000 after the OCE began its inquiry.

Hagedorn, meanwhile, has come under scrutiny for rent-free use of a campaign office provided by a political donor. Politico reported last year that Hagedorn has listed an office building suite as his campaign’s headquarters, but election spending records don’t show any payments for use of the space.

The Minnesota Reformer, a nonprofit news organization, also reported that Hagedorn’s office paid more than $100,000 in taxpayer funds to a Texas-based printing company owned by one of his staff members.

And the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported last year that Kelly had urged the Trump administration to investigate foreign steel imports that threatened a steel plant in his district in which his wife had purchased between $15,000 to $50,000 in stock.

The Ethics Committee stressed that its disclosures of extending the reviews into each of the four lawmakers did not necessarily implicate any of them in wrongdoing.

“The committee notes that the mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee,” House Ethics Committee Chairman Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Rep. Jackie Walorski (Ind.), the panel’s top Republican, said in joint statements about Malinowski, Kelly, Hagedorn and Mooney.

Tags Alex Mooney House Ethics Committee Jackie Walorski Jim Hagedorn Mike Kelly Ted Deutch Tom Malinowski
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