House

Oregon Democrat violates conflicts-of-interest law, failing to report stock trades by deadline

Greg Nash

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) violated a federal conflicts-of-interest law by failing to report stock transactions by a mandated deadline, but he will not be fined, as he disclosed the trades within a “grace period.”

Schrader’s financial transaction report filed on Feb. 7 showed that the congressman sold shares of Charter Communications Inc. and AON PLC, a company that assists insurance carriers, in December. The transactions for each company ranged from $1,000 to $15,000.

The Oregon Democrat said he made the transaction for Charter Communications Inc. on Dec. 9 and the transaction for AON PLC on Dec. 14. He disclosed both transactions on Feb. 1, which was past the deadline imposed by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, known as the STOCK Act.

The STOCK Act requires that lawmakers report any financial transactions within 45 days of them being carried out. It also prohibits members of Congress from using nonpublic information received as part of their official position for personal benefit.

Schrader reported both stock transactions less than 10 days after the imposed deadline.

Molly Prescott, his spokeswoman, told Business Insider that Schrader does not have “any direct involvement in investment decisions as it relates to the purchase or sale of stocks,” adding that a “financial advisory practice” handles his stock transactions, though she did not name the firm.

She said Schrader “is not consulted in advance, nor does he make any suggestions or recommendations on any stock transactions” and just “receives a report at the start of each month informing him of any transactions that took place in the previous month.”

The Hill reached out to Schrader’s officer for comment.

The congressman will not face a $200 fine for failing to properly disclose his stock transactions, as he filed the trades within an accepted “grace period,” according to Business Insider. The House Ethics Committee does not fine lawmakers who are violating the law for the first time and are late to disclose by 30 days or fewer, the outlet noted.

At least 56 congressional lawmakers have violated the STOCK Act by failing to properly disclose financial transactions, according to a tally by Business Insider.

News of Schrader’s failure to report his stock transactions on time comes amid a bipartisan push on Capitol Hill to ban congressional lawmakers from trading stocks while in office. Members from both parties have introduced bills addressing the matter.

The initiative appears to have strong public support. A Data for Progress poll conducted in January found that 67 percent of Americans support banning lawmakers from trading stocks.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last week directed House Democrats to draft a bill banning members of Congress and their senior staffers from trading individual stocks. Pelosi had initially been against the initiative but eventually said she would get on board if members of the caucus were in favor of such an effort.

The Speaker’s husband, Paul Pelosi, trades stocks, but Nancy Pelosi has said she does not have any such financial holdings.

It is unclear if Schrader supports banning congressional lawmakers from making stock transactions. He has traded dozens of individual stocks in the last year, according to Business Insider, making him one of the more active stock market participants in Congress.

Prescott told Business Insider that Schrader “strongly believes that bad actors who engage in insider trading must be held to account.”

“There are existing laws to prevent this illegal, unethical behavior, and he believes Congress must do a better job at enforcing them. His stance on this matter is clear — no one is above the law,” she added.

Tags Conflict of interest Kurt Schrader Nancy Pelosi Stock STOCK Act
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