Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed complaints with congressional ethics offices against three freshman members of Congress—Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) and Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT)—for failure to comply with the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act on July 29, 2021.
Under the STOCK Act, members of Congress must disclose a stock trade within 45 days of the trade with no exceptions. Despite all members and their staff receiving mandatory STOCK Act training, all three members failed to disclose their stock trades at the time of the transactions.
They claim that they were unaware of the transactions, which is not an exception under the law.
Tuberville failed to properly disclose nearly 130 separate stock and stock-option trades together worth at least $894,000 and as much as $3.56 million. The complaint against Tuberville was filed with the Senate Ethics Committee.
Fallon failed to properly disclose 93 stock trades together worth at least $7.8 million and as much as $17.53 million. Moore failed to properly disclose 70 separate stock and stock-option trades together worth at least $70,000 and as much as $1.1 million. The complaints against these two representatives were filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).
The actions of these three members follow a troubling, bipartisan trend. Recent examples of other members of Congress failing to disclose stock trades include Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), who CLC filed a complaint against earlier this year, and former Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL).
This ongoing trend of STOCK Act violations shows that merely the threat of a fine is not deterring members of Congress from breaking the law.
If members are not held accountable for failing to disclose stock trades promptly, many may simply wait until their annual financial disclosures to reveal stock trades and pay nominal late fees, thereby circumventing the STOCK Act. Such a delay allows these members to avoid real accountability.
The purpose of the STOCK Act is to give voters real time transparency of the financial interests of their elected officials that may conflict with their official duties. Members of Congress will continue to file late reports and defeat the purpose of the law without meaningful ethics enforcement.
When elected officials prioritize their own financial self-interest, they are not only hurting their own accountability, but they are diminishing public trust in government. As members of Congress craft laws that directly impact the lives of all Americans, the public must be able to trust that representatives are acting in the public’s interest, and not in their own financial interest.