First True Enforcement of STOCK Act by OCE Follows CLC Complaint

Issues
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Tom Malinowski speaking at a podium in front of a building with columns
U.S. Representative Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) speaking at a press conference in Washington, D.C. Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Live News

Earlier this year, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) against Rep. Tom Malinowski for allegedly violating the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act.  

Now, just over seven months later, the OCE has found, "substantial reason to believe" there was a violation and taken the rare step of referring the matter to the House Committee on Ethics. 

Proper enforcement of the STOCK Act is a critical step for holding members of Congress accountable to the public for their stock trading activity.

Elected officials craft laws that directly impact the lives of Americans, so voters have a right to know whether their representatives are acting in the public’s interest or for their own financial gain. 

Lax enforcement of the STOCK Act and nominal penalties for violators has led to a recent widespread trend of members of Congress failing to properly disclose their stock activity as required by law.

More enforcement by the OCE will help hold violators accountable and deter members from violating the law in the future by incentivizing compliance with the disclosure requirements. 

For over two years, Rep. Malinowski traded stocks frequently without filing the required reports. Between 2019 and 2021, Rep. Malinowski made more than 100 trades with a total value ranging from approximately $1.3 million to $5 million without filing periodic transaction reports (PRT) as required by the STOCK Act and House rules.  

In such reports, members of Congress must disclose, “[a]ny purchase, sale, or exchange of securities [they] own or acquire.”  

According to OCE’s investigation, Rep. Malinowski knowingly failed to properly report PTR transactions in accordance with STOCK Act deadlines.

He also “intentionally conflated PTR transactions he did report, did not disclose short sales in a consistent manner (or according to his stated intent), and failed to properly disclose assets and transactions on his 2019 annual financial disclosure statement.” 

Elected officials who intentionally skirt the rules and fail to promptly and properly disclose stock trades must be held accountable. Without proper enforcement, this trend of members failing to comply may continue and worsen. 

Delaney's work focuses on government ethics, accountability, and transparency.
Malinowski's Failure to Disclose Stock Trades in a Timely Manner