- Insider and other media have identified numerous US lawmakers not complying with the federal STOCK Act.
- Their excuses range from oversights, to clerical errors, to inattentive accountants.
- Congress is now considering banning lawmakers from trading individual stocks.
Insider and several other news organizations have identified 77 members of Congress who’ve recently failed to properly report their financial trades as mandated by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, also known as the STOCK Act.
Congress passed the law a decade ago to combat insider trading and conflicts of interest among their own members and force lawmakers to be more transparent about their personal financial dealings. A key provision of the law mandates that lawmakers publicly — and quickly — disclose any stock trade made by themselves, a spouse, or a dependent child.
But many members of Congress have not fully complied with the law. They offer excuses including ignorance of the law, clerical errors, and mistakes by an accountant. Insider has chronicled this widespread nature of this phenomenon in “Conflicted Congress,” an ongoing reporting project initially published in December.
While lawmakers who violate the STOCK Act face a fine, the penalty is usually small — $200 is the standard amount — or waived by House or Senate ethics officials. Ethics watchdogs and even some members of Congress have called for stricter penalties or even a ban on federal lawmakers from trading individual stocks.
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are now seriously debating such a ban, with a vote on a consensus bill possible.But Democrats, who retain a majority until January, are dithering, and it’s increasingly likely the bill will not come to a vote.
Here are the lawmakers discovered to have recently violated the STOCK Act — to one extent or another: