Busted: These 6 members of Congress violated a federal conflicts-of-interest law
At least six more members of Congress have violated the STOCK Act with late disclosure reports. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

At least six more members of Congress have violated the STOCK Act by failing to disclose transactions — up to $376,280 collectively — within a 45-day federal deadline, according to a Raw Story analysis of congressional financial documents.

The majority of the late disclosure dollars came from Rep. Jonathan Jackson (D-IL) who was late in disclosing up to $300,000 in stock transactions from a joint trust.

He is joined by five other lawmakers who were late in disclosing transactions in the $1,000-to-$15,000 range: Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-ID), Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Rep. Deborah Ross (D-NC) and Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD).

The lawmakers aren’t alone in violating the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act this week.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), who last year led Democratic House leadership’s self-aborted effort to ban congressional stock trading, violated the STOCK Act with up to $265,000 in late financial disclosures, Raw Story reported on Wednesday.

Raw Story also broke the news last week that Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) was late in disclosing up to $5 million in U.S. Treasury note purchases.

The ongoing violations come at a time when a bipartisan group of lawmakers have introduced several similar bills aimed at banning congressional stock trading.

RELATED ARTICLE: ‘I mistakenly left it in draft’: Republican violates STOCK Act with up to $5 million in late disclosures

The most recent bill to be introduced this session — the Bipartisan Restoring Faith in Government Act — is co-sponsored in part by political rivals in Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL).

Other materially similar bills include the Ending Trading and Holdings in Congressional Stocks (ETHICS) Act, the TRUST in Congress Act and the Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments Act.

The STOCK Act requires members of Congress — within 45 days — to report any individual stock, bond, Treasury security or cryptocurrency transactions they, their spouses or dependent children conduct.

But dozens have failed to comply. 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. This year, Raw Story has identified 11 more STOCK Act violators.

“Throughout the past few weeks, months, and years, we’ve seen far too frequent reports of Members of Congress — both Democrats and Republicans — making suspiciously timed trades. Whether these headlines are surrounding the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic Bank, like in the past few weeks, or related to the pandemic or invasion of Ukraine, as we were seeing a few years ago, these trades undermine the trust that the American people deserve to have in their government,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) said in a statement to Raw Story.

RELATED ARTICLE: Pelosi lieutenant who sponsored congressional stock ban bill just violated the STOCK Act

Spanberger, who sponsored the TRUST in Congress Act, continued, “A spotlight in the press has not yet stopped the next breaking news cycle of questionable trades. Congress must hold ourselves accountable by removing the ability to buy or sell individual stocks at all — and remove even the perception of impropriety. My bipartisan TRUST in Congress Act has the most cosponsors of any legislation to ban congressional stock trading — and more of my colleagues are still getting on board. I’ll keep pressing my colleagues to join our effort, and I’m keeping my foot on the gas until this reform makes it to the president’s desk.”

The Office of the Clerk for the U.S. House of Representatives declined to comment and referred Raw Story to the House Committee on Ethics.

Tom Rust, staff director and chief counsel for the House Committee on Ethics, which is tasked with investigating alleged STOCK Act violations, said “no comment” when reached by Raw Story.

Among the latest STOCK Act violators:

Rep. Jonathan Jackson (D-IL)

Jackson, a freshman Illinois congressman who took the seat held by former Rep. Bobby Rush, was late in disclosing up to $300,000 in stock transactions he made earlier this year, according to a disclosure he submitted on May 12.

The stocks are part of a joint trust.

“We announced that the filing was delayed, and we take this matter seriously. However, I want to emphasize that we are now in full compliance, and I've implemented measures to ensure timely filings in the future,” Jackson told Raw Story. “Setting up the new office, we've changed a compliance officer, and that contributed to the delay, so very comfortable with our team now.”

Jackson disclosed four January stock purchases, ranging from $15,001 to $50,000 each, for electronics manufacturer AMETEK Inc., Deere & Company, Parker-Hannifin Corporation and Visa.

On Feb. 28, he purchased $15,001 to $50,000 in Brighthouse Financial Inc. stock and sold UnitedHealth Group stock in the same price range.

Democratic Rep. Jonathan Jackson of Illinois (left) speaks with House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-SC). U.S. House of Representatives

Federal lawmakers are only required to disclose the value of their stock trades in broad ranges.

“I'll assume full responsibility that I made some changes, and I knew it would be delayed,” Jackson said. “I know what the consequences were. I've honored that, and we've ensured the process will be timely going forward. I did the extension, and you'll see the rest of them.”

Jackson said he paid the customary $200 fine for a STOCK Act violation.

“We were always familiar with what the fines would be and always wanted to be in compliance, so fines have been paid. The extensions have been made. The coordination between our compliance officer and the brokers have been connected,” Jackson said.

Jackson said he did not have an opinion on his colleagues’ legislation that would ban congressional stock trading, but he said he accepts the current rules and will comply with them.

“I'm all about public trust and oversight, and I've read all the necessary information. It was with a slight delay, but I received that,” he said.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI)

Dingell, who represents Michigan’s 6th congressional district, submitted a disclosure on Monday reporting the purchase of $1,001 to $15,000 in Disney stock on Nov. 29.

“Congresswoman Dingell discovered the omission while filing her annual financial disclosure and acted immediately to rectify the issue by promptly filing a periodic transaction report,” said Michaela Johnson, a spokesperson for Dingell.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) speaks during a press conference after a House Democratic Caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on November 2, 2021 in Washington, DC. Allison Shelley/Getty Images

“She will continue to defer financial decisions to a financial advisor and has directed her office to proactively take measures to ensure this issue does not occur again,” Johnson said. “She will continue to support efforts in Congress to increase transparency and accountability, especially when it comes to trading stocks and financial portfolios.”

Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-ID)

Fulcher, who represents Idaho’s first congressional district, reported on May 12 that he sold of Banc of California stock shares worth between $1,001 to $15,000. The date of the sale was March 15, 2022, meaning his disclosure was more than a year late.

Fulcher’s team did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD)

Sarbanes, the congressman representing Maryland's 3rd congressional district, was nearly a year late in disclosing two purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds in June 2022, both in the $1,001-to-$15,000 range.

“Congressman Sarbanes had never purchased Treasury securities and was unfamiliar with the protocol, but he has since worked with the House Ethics Committee to take all necessary steps,” said Natalie Young, communications director for Sarbanes. “He voted for the STOCK Act and supports efforts to establish additional measures addressing transparency and stock ownership.”

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)

Kaptur submitted a disclosure on Monday that revealed she sold $1,280.03 worth of stock in The Andersons, Inc. — an agriculture supply company. She made the sale on Oct. 21, meaning her disclosure was more than five months late.

“In 38 years of filing congressional disclosure reports, Congresswoman Kaptur has never purchased or traded individual stocks,” said Ben Kamens, communications director for Kaptur. “When her brother passed away in 2021, she inherited her first individual stocks and fully disclosed she would hold and not trade them.”

Kamens continued, “In 2022, it became clear that as a result of redistricting Congresswoman Kaptur would represent the Ohio agribusiness whose stock she had inherited. To avoid even the appearance of any conflict with her official work, Congresswoman Kaptur promptly sold all of her shares in the stock.”

Kaptur’s team said she paid a $200 late fee and has since moved the stock proceeds to a certificate of deposit with “no intention of buying or selling individual stocks,” Kamens said.

“Upon discovering the $1,280.03 transaction exceeded the reporting limit of $1,000, she filed the required report and a $200 fee for the delay in recognizing the oversight,” Kamens said.

Rep. Deborah Ross (D-NC)

Ross, the congresswoman for North Carolina’s second congressional district, disclosed on Sunday her spouse’s Nov. 7 exchange of Unity Software Stock. Value: somewhere between $1,001 and $15,000.

“This transaction was a stock exchange that resulted from the merger of Unity Software and ironSource, a technology company,” said Josie Feron, a spokesperson for Ross’s office. “While Congresswoman Ross’ husband held Unity stock through his Roth IRA, he did not direct the transaction, and she reported it as soon as she became aware that it had occurred,”

Feron did not confirm whether or not Ross paid a fine, saying, “Congresswoman Ross contacted the Ethics Committee when she became aware of this transaction. The Ethics Committee instructed her to report the transaction, which she did.”

The Committee on House Ethics does not publicly reveal whether lawmakers have been assessed fines or if they’ve paid them.

Violation epidemic

The STOCK Act was passed by Congress in 2012 to prevent insider trading, promote transparency and reduce conflicts of interest among federal lawmakers and other government officials.

In the decade since, the push for a total ban on lawmakers trading stocks while in office gained but then lost momentum last year when the Democratic-led House, then led by Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, decided not to conduct a hearing on any of stock-ban bills and never brought it to the House floor for a vote.

Earlier this year, Raw Story reported other STOCK Act violations, breaking the news that Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) failed to properly disclose that his wife sold up to $100,000 worth of stock in gaming company Activision Blizzard in September 2022 and purchased up to $15,000 worth of stock in Amazon.com in August 2022.

Raw Story also reported that Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) was several days late disclosing that he had sold personal stock in an energy company and a pair of federal defense contractors. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) also violated the STOCK Act in March with a late disclosure.

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 has reported.

The Wall Street Journal won a 2023 Pulitzer Prize for its investigation into financial conflicts among officials who work in federal agencies while Insider won the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine Award for its reporting on congressional financial conflicts.