Experts say that a Democratic congressman from Illinois may have violated federal law by failing to disclose information about a stock transaction that occurred before the deadline.
In a disclosure statement released on Wednesday, Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts revealed that his wife, Liz Boardman, sold $100,000 worth of shares in video game company, Activision Blizzard, which Microsoft is trying to acquire. However, it's believed that he failed to report the transaction as required by the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) rules. According to experts, this violation could have been due to the fact that the Boardman's sale occurred in September 2022.
The obligation to disclose financial transactions is important for members of Congress as it allows them to determine if their actions were influenced by their personal investments or if they were wrongfully profited from their positions. According to Kendra Arnold, an executive director of a civic and accountability organization, members should be aware of their responsibilities and promptly file required reports.
His office noted that he paid a late fee in January to settle the issue.
A representative for Moulton noted that the family's financial situation can be complex. As a result, they have asked the Ethics Committee and an outside counsel to help them avoid potential conflicts of interest.
The 2012 legislation known as the Stock Act was aimed at preventing members of Congress from engaging in insider trading. Over the years, many Democrats and Republicans have not followed the law. One of the individuals who has been identified as a potential violator is Pat Fallon of Texas. He reportedly failed to report over $21 million worth of stock transactions. The OCE, which is an independent agency that investigates allegations of misconduct, voted in February 2022 to refer matters to the Ethics Committee.
The personal finances of members of Congress have been under increasing scrutiny in the past couple of years. In March, several members of Congress, including Roy, Spanberger, Jayapal, and Krishnamoorthi, renewed their call for the banning of stock trading by members.
Last year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi supported legislation that banned members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and senior congressional staff members from trading. However, according to financial watchdogs, the bill had a loophole that would allow members to continue to oversee their portfolios.
Craig Holman of Public Citizen, a government affairs consultant, noted that Moulton is in clear violation of the law.
According to him, members of Congress have the opportunity to gain access to highly confidential information that could affect the stock market and the economy. However, they should not be able to ignore the law and avoid being held accountable.
In addition to failing to report his stock transactions, Moulton also failed to disclose other details about his financial transactions. For instance, in August 2021, he reported that he sold around $250,000 worth of shares of a management consultancy firm.
The OCE did not provide a response when asked for comment.
The preceding article is a summary of an article that originally appeared on Washington Examiner