Corruption in New Jersey politics is not new. Still, one Congressman allegedly got rich off of the coronavirus pandemic and may have violated the law.
Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) has been charted with ethics complaints by two watchdog groups for allegedly failing to publicly disclose stock trades worth upwards of $671,000, Breitbart reported. Both Campaign Legal Center and the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust reached out to the Office of Congressional Ethics Monday.
According to the federal STOCK Act, lawmakers are compelled to disclose any personal stock transactions within 30 to 45 days or face penalties. However, the Campaign Legal Center’s letter to the ethics committee outlined how the Democratic representative flouted that requirement.. “Rep. Malinowski repeatedly failed to comply with this requirement for over two years,” the letter said. “He describes this omission as an oversight even though he is an experienced investor and former political appointee who has been subject to the STOCK Act for over five years.”
Kendra Arnold, executive director at FACT, directly tied his enrichment to the pandemic. “It appears Malinowski was secretly trading stocks related to a national crisis, which prevented the public from evaluating whether his transactions were based upon information he obtained from his official position,” she added. On March 19, 2020, Malinowski sold around $15,000 worth of stock in Chembio Diagnostics, a company that makes testing supplies for infectious diseases, including coronavirus testing supplies.
Around the same time, Malinowski invested in General Mills, J.M. Smucker Company, and Peleton. There were more than 90 transactions that earned him over half a million dollars or more that have gone unreported, according to Fox News.
“It’s bad enough Malinowski broke federal law by failing to report these transactions, but even worse is the fact that he may have done it to hide trades that allowed him to profit off a pandemic while his constituents suffered,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Samantha Bullock said in a statement to the news outlet. Both the timing and the type of investments don’t bode well for him.
Malinowski’s defense was that he “has a financial advisor that makes trading decisions on his behalf without his regular input,” according to a spokeswoman. The congressman has offered to pay a fine should the House Ethics Committee demand it.
If this is true, it is the worst kind of corruption. Using the pandemic for political gain seems to be a common theme among many politicians, but this is low — even for a New Jersey Democrat.