Lawmakers in Congress are under a rule that asks them to disclose their buying and selling of stocks within 45 days of trade. However, many lawmakers are ignoring the rules and filing stock disclosures weeks or months after the transactions were completed. The rules were created to show transparency but they are being flouted across lines, in a truly bipartisan manner. Most often, these lawmakers pay a fine of $200 for late filing.
The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act or the STOP Act was passed in Congress under the then president Barack Obama on April 4, 2012. It was passed to prevent insider trading and conflicts of interest.
Few major outlets including NPR, LegiStorm, Forbes, Business Insider, The Daily Beast and more have reported that 30 members of Congress have failed to report their trades as per the STOP Act. They offer reasons including
- clerical errors
- accounting mistakes
- Ignorance of the law.
Lawmakers who break this law face a fine of $200 which is sometimes waived by the ethics committee officials or by the House.
The lawmakers who have failed to disclose trading of stocks by themselves or close family members including spouses and children are
Sen. Tommy Tubervile — Alabama
Sen. Rand Paul — Kentucky
Rep. Pat Fallon — Texas
Rep. Diana Harshbarger — Tennessee
Rep. Blake Moore — Texas
Rep. Dan Crenshaw — Texas
Rep. Kevin Hern — Oklahoma
Rep. Brian Mast — Florida
Rep. August Pfluger — Texas
Rep.Steve Chabot — Ohio
Rep. Chris Jacobs — New York
Rep. Warren Davidson — Ohio
Rep. Lance Gooden — Texas
Rep. Dan Meuser — Pennsylvania
Sen. Dianne Feinstein — California
Sen. Mark Kelly — Arizona
Rep. Tom Malinowski — New Jersey
Rep. Katherine Clark — Massachusetts
Rep. Susie Lee — Nevada
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz — Florida
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney — New York
Rep. Lori Trahan — Massachusetts
Rep. Kathy Castor — Florida
Rep. Cheri Bustos — Illinois
Rep. Bobby Scott — Virginia
Rep. Ed Perlmutter — Colorado
Rep. Tom Suozzi — New York
Rep. Cindy Axne —Iowa
Del.Michael San Nicolas — Guam
Some lawmakers, watchdogs and advocacy groups believe that the law has to be changed and all trading should be stopped and stocks sold within six months after lawmakers is elected. Senator Jeff Merkley called the STOCK Act pretty much useless, although he had voted for it.
Kedric Payne, the general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, has filed ethics complaints against a few of the lawmakers across parties and hopes to file more. The watchdog is a group promoting transparency in government. Payne also said that many lawmakers are circumventing the STOCK Act.