Despite touting himself as an unwavering enemy of corruption in politics as a sponsor of multiple bills related to money in politics and funding transparency, one Democrat congressman has just found himself on the wrong end of an alarming financial controversy.
As Breitbart reports, Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) has been busted for failing to make required public disclosures of a series of lucrative securities transactions conducted in 2020, omissions that may represent a violation of federal law.
The congressman engaged in a number of trades in March of last year, just as the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. Among the purchases made by Malinowski were investments in the J.M. Smucker Company, General Mills, and home exercise firm Peloton, according to Business Insider, which first broke the story, and which estimates that the lawmaker’s total undisclosed trading during the period at issue may have reached $2.76 million.
In response to the problematic revelations that the legislator did not make necessary disclosures within the 30- to 45-day window required by the STOCK Act, Malinowski’s chief of staff, Colston Reid, stated that “filing these disclosures late was an oversight that [the congressman] is taking steps to correct.”
Malinowski spokesperson Amanda Osbourne claimed, “this was not an effort on the part of the congressman to conceal any trade activities,” and that “he has a financial advisor that makes trading decisions on his behalf without his regular input.”
Reactions from ethics experts to Malinowski’s disclosure failures were swift and damning, with lawyer and professor Richard Painter declaring, “it’s time to ban all Members of Congress from trading stocks in individual companies affected by their official duties.”
Walter Shaub, senior ethics fellow at the Project on Government Oversight and former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics was similarly succinct in his take, tweeting simply, “Ban members of Congress from trading stocks.”
As Breitbart noted, Malinowski is far from the only legislator with recent involvement in stock transactions that have raised eyebrows. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was discovered not to have disclosed trades made in the run-up to pandemic-related market turbulence, and Rep. Susan Davis sold cruise industry and airline securities ahead of COVID widespread lockdowns.
Author Peter Schweizer, who has written extensively on government corruption on both sides of the aisle, perhaps said it best when he opined earlier this year, “Sadly, the recent activities of Congress show that, even in times of the most unimaginable crisis, our nation’s health still takes a backseat to Washington’s wealth.”