Watchdog: 7 members of Congress allegedly failed to disclose stock trades

A watchdog filed ethics complaints against seven members of Congress on Wednesday, alleging that they failed to disclose stock trades.

The Campaign Legal Center (CLC) announced on Wednesday that it filed complaints with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) against Reps. Cindy AxneCindy AxneClub for Growth squeezes front-line Democrats on reconciliation plan Biden meets with vulnerable House Democrats with agenda in limbo  No deal: House delays infrastructure vote MORE (D-Iowa), Warren DavidsonWarren Earl DavidsonWatchdog: 7 members of Congress allegedly failed to disclose stock trades On The Money — Yellen sounds alarm on national default GOP lawmakers urge Cardona against executive student loan wipeout MORE (R-Ohio), Lance GoodenLance GoodenWatchdog: 7 members of Congress allegedly failed to disclose stock trades GOP lawmakers demand answers on withheld restitution following Nassar revelation Hillicon Valley: Biden: Social media platforms 'killing people' | Tech executives increased political donations amid lobbying push | Top House antitrust Republican forms 'Freedom from Big Tech Caucus' MORE (R-Texas), Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottWatchdog: 7 members of Congress allegedly failed to disclose stock trades Pressure builds on Democratic leadership over HBCU funding Democrats hit crunch time for passing Biden agenda MORE (D-Va.), Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), Roger WilliamsJohn (Roger) Roger WilliamsEarly redistricting plans show GOP retrenching for long haul Photos of the Week: Congressional Baseball Game, ashen trees and a beach horse Watchdog: 7 members of Congress allegedly failed to disclose stock trades MORE (R-Texas) and Del. Michael San Nicolas (D-Guam), accusing them of failing to disclose stock trades in compliance with the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act.

The watchdog is requesting that the OCE conduct an investigation into the members of Congress for allegedly failing to disclose more than $12 million collectively.

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The CLC alleged that Suozzi failed to disclose up to $11 million worth of stock transactions, the highest amount among the lawmakers currently under scrutiny by the watchdog.

The watchdog complaints also alleged that Axne failed to disclose up to $645,000 worth of transactions, Gooden up to $376,000, Davidson up to $100,000, Scott up to $60,000, San Nicolas up to $50,000 and Williams up to $45,000.

The STOCK Act requires that all members of Congress disclose any financial transactions within 45 days of making the move.

The CLC said it had a “particular concern” with the alleged violations by Axne, Davidson, Gooden, San Nicolas and Williams because they all sit on the House Financial Services Committee.

“The lack of accountability we’ve seen in regard to STOCK Act compliance is basically giving elected officials the green light to buy and sell stocks based on information gained from committee meetings without any transparency for their voters,” Kedric Payne, the CLC’s general counsel and senior director of ethics, said in a statement.

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Davidson’s office told The Hill in a statement that there was an error on the House clerk’s website that stopped a transaction from being properly displayed to the public, adding that the congresswoman “is in full compliance with ethical and financial disclosure rules of the House of Representatives.”

“We trust this correction will soon be reflected on the Clerk’s website,” his office added.

A spokesperson for Axne, in a statement to The Hill, said the lawmaker does not manage or execute transactions for her retirement account or the accounts she has with her husband or small business, adding that any errors made in her disclosures were unintentional.

“In accordance with her legal requirements, she has submitted all required disclosures of her assets through her first three years in Congress,” the spokesperson said.

“If there are errors with those disclosures, they are unintentional and the Congresswoman will take immediate and all necessary steps to ensure her disclosures are accurate and in accordance with the law," the spokesperson added.

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Dylan Smith, a spokesperson for Suozzi, said that the congressman's investors are managed through independent advisers. 

“The Congressman’s investments are managed through independent advisors with discretion over all transactions. Due to a misunderstanding, periodic transaction reports were not filed, but every transaction was reported on his annual financial disclosure. Going forward all proper periodic disclosures will be filed on a timely basis," Smith said. 

Scott, in a statement to The Hill, said he purchased the assets included in the complaint before the 2012 enactment of the STOCK Act, and that three of them were not initially reportable because their values did not exceed the $1,000 reporting threshold.

After appreciation, however, he said they became reportable, but “no sales or purchases were involved.”

He said one asset was incorrectly reported in his financial disclosure because of a 2018 merger that led to a share-for-share exchange of stock that he previously owned, which he was not aware of. He said he mistakenly reported the previously owned stock.

The congressman said he has since submitted updated financial disclosures.

“I have submitted amendments to my financial disclosures with the Clerk of the House of Representatives to ensure that all of my disclosures are accurate,” Scott said.

The Hill has reached out to Gooden, San Nicolas and Williams for comment on the CLC's announcement.