Sen. Tom Carper just violated this federal transparency and conflicts-of-interest law
Sen. Tom Carper, a Democrat from Delaware. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware violated a transparency and conflicts-of-interest law by disclosing one of his wife's stock trades more than a year after a federal deadline, according to a Raw Story review of congressional financial disclosure records.

Carper on Tuesday disclosed that Martha Ann Stacy sold $2,991.98 worth of stock in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd., although the trade took place on Jan. 19, 2022.

His wife's sale of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd. came shortly before Carper, as chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade, advocated for Taiwan's inclusion in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd., for its part, spent more than $2.8 million lobbying the federal government in 2022, according to federal records compiled by nonpartisan research group OpenSecrets.

Federal lawmakers and their spouses are legally permitted to trade individual stocks. But Carper is one among dozens of lawmakers who have violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012's transparency requirement that any stock trade must be publicly disclosed within 45 days of the trade being made.

And this is the second time in a year that Carper has violated the STOCK Act.

Widespread violations of this provision, coupled with lawmakers' potential conflicts between their public responsibilities and personal stock trades, have prompted some in Congress to call for an outright ban on elected officials and their families buying and selling equities.

Carper's office characterized the late disclosure as a "simple clerical error".

"Senator Carper and his wife, Martha, have always been careful to ensure that their financial investments are handled separately by a financial adviser who makes decisions and transactions independently," Carper spokesperson Katie Grasso told Raw Story. "Senator Carper supported the STOCK Act, and he fully supports ongoing conversations in Congress on how to strengthen the legislation and improve transparency and accountability for our elected officials."

Grasso added that "immediately upon being made aware of this error, Senator Carper reported the transaction to rectify the situation."

RELATED ARTICLE: Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton violated the STOCK Act with 'embarrassing' late disclosures

The senator is working with the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics, a bipartisan body of three Republicans and three Democrats, "so he can fully resolve this matter," she said.

The typical fine for a late stock trade disclosure of this sort is $200, per federal law. Generally, neither the House nor the Senate ethics committees release details about their findings regarding lawmakers who violate the STOCK Act, nor do they maintain a public accounting of which lawmakers have been assessed fines, and how much those fines total.

During the 117th Congress from 2021 to 2022, at least 78 members of Congress — dozens of Democrats and Republicans alike — were found to have violated the STOCK Act's disclosure provisions, according to a tally maintained by Insider.

Some, like Carper, were late disclosing a few thousand dollars worth of stock trades. Others were late disclosing trades that soared into the hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars.

This year, Raw Story has identified two additional lawmakers — Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) — who were late disclosing personal stock trades.

Carper, a close ally of President Joe Biden, who represents Biden's home state, is one of Congress' most active stock traders, as he and is wife have logged hundreds of individual trades during the past several years.

News organizations including the New York Times, Insider, NPR and Sludge have documented rampant financial conflicts of interests among dozens of members of Congress, such as those who bought and sold defense contractor stock while occupying positions on congressional armed services committees or otherwise voting on measures to send such companies billions of federal dollars. The executive and judicial branches are riddled with similar financial conflict issues, too, as the Wall Street Journal hasreported.

A plan to enact a congressional stock-trade ban failed during the 2021-2022 congressional session after Democratic House leaders declined to bring any of several existing bills — including one floated by House leaders themselves — up for a vote.

But this year, a bipartisan group members of Congress, including Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), are renewing efforts to ban federal lawmakers and their spouses from trading stocks altogether. Cryptocurrency trades are also a target.