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The nonprofit government watchdog group Campaign Legal Center (CLC) announced Wednesday that they have filed complaints with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) against seven members of Congress, four Democrats and three Republicans, for failure to disclose stock trades in compliance with the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act.
Virginia congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA03) is included on the list of seven members being accused of violating the Act. According to the CLC complaint against Scott, he “may have failed to disclose up to $60,000 worth of stock transactions.”
“In 2019 and 2020, Rep. Scott appears to have purchased at least four assets with a total value ranging from approximately $4,004 to $60,000 without disclosing the transactions,” the complaint reads. “While Rep. Scott disclosed the ownership of these assets on his annual financial disclosures, he did not file periodic transaction reports (“PTRs”) for the transactions that resulted in the changes in his stock holdings, as required pursuant to the STOCK Act and House rules. An OCE investigation is necessary to determine whether his failure to file was a violation.”
In a press release, CLC said that their previous complaints have addressed members who delayed disclosure beyond the mandated window or filed disclosures in an improper manner, but these seven members — Reps. Cindy Axne (D-IA), Warren Davidson (R-OH), Lance Gooden (R-TX), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Roger Williams (R-TX), Del. Michael San Nicolas (D-GU), and Scott — have conducted significant stock trading activity that has not been disclosed at all.
“The lack of accountability we’ve seen in regard to STOCK Act compliance is basically giving elected officials the green light to buy and sell stocks based on information gained from committee meetings without any transparency for their voters,” said Kedric Payne, general counsel and senior director of ethics at Campaign Legal Center. “Until we see meaningful enforcement paired with real transparency, I see no end to this troubling trend.”
Five of these seven members — Axne, Davidson, Gooden, San Nicolas, and Williams — sit on the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services.
“As members of Congress craft laws that directly impact the lives of all Americans, voters have a right to know whether their representatives are acting in the public’s interest or for their own financial gain,” CLC said in a press release. “When elected officials prioritize gaining personal wealth, they are not only hurting their own accountability, but they are diminishing public trust in government.”
Scott’s office in Washington D.C. did not provide a comment for this article.
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