What are they trying to hide? How 60% of members of Congress routinely delay revealing personal finances to the public – but are barely punished

  • A new report by Accountable.US found nearly 60 percent of incumbent House members filed for an extension of their 2022 disclosures in 2023 
  • Over 80 percent of those asked for the maximum 90-day extension
  • The extensions are legal, but the watchdog group argues the frequency they are relied upon show the lax nature of current financial ethics rules in Congress

More than half of Congress‘ lower chamber filed for an extension on their financial disclosures, according to a new analysis.

House representatives were supposed to file financial disclosures to shed light on whether they had any conflicts of interest under the STOCK Act – the only law regulating federal lawmakers’ finances. Those who oppose banning congressional stock trades have said the STOCK Act provides enough regulation. 

But a new report by Accountable.US found nearly 60 percent of incumbent House members filed for an extension of their 2022 disclosures in 2023, with over 80 percent of those asking for the maximum 90-day extension. 

A slight majority, 54 percent, of those asking for extensions were Republicans

The extensions are legal, but the watchdog group argues the frequency they are relied upon show the lax nature of current financial ethics rules in Congress. 

‘In the face of “the worst market since 2008,” many members of Congress beat the S&P 500 in 2021 and 2022, with some members taking “advantage of their position as elected officials,”‘ the Accountable.US report notes. 

The latest comes after a renewed push for a ban on congressional stock trades spurred, in part, by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul’s prolific trades. 

More than half of Congress' lower chamber filed for an extension on their financial disclosures, according to a new analysis

More than half of Congress’ lower chamber filed for an extension on their financial disclosures, according to a new analysis

At least six bipartisan bills – including one that made strange bedfellows of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., have been introduced this Congress. 

But House Republicans have so far punted on moving legislation forward. 

‘It’s complex. You got to get it done the right way in order to get the coalition together,’ Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, an author of one of the stock ban bils, told DailyMail.com recently. 

But he grumbled about Democrats who had taken a fresh interest in the matter. 

‘But if they want to keep kind of going ahead, because it’s the only thing they want to talk about, then count me out,’ he said. 

Financial Services Committee member Warren Davidson told DailyMail.com he would oppose any ban on stock trades. 

‘I think members of Congress need to be smarter financially, not more ignorant financially,’ he said recently. ‘Insider trading is already illegal.’

Last year a New York Times report found at least 97 members of Congress or their immediate family members made trades in companies that were directly influenced by the work of their committees – for a total of 3,700 trades. 

In January of this year it was revealed that 78 members of Congress who had recently failed to report their trades as mandated by the STOCK Act. 

Under current law members of Congress are supposed to report their trades within 30 days – though the law is often broken and violations frequently go without punishment. The fine for breaking the law is small – around $200 if it isn’t waived. 

House and Senate members attend a joint session of Congress

House and Senate members attend a joint session of Congress 

The annual financial disclosure reports also show outside income, such as book deals or debts they are paid back from their campaign. 

In May a group of more than 20 lawmakers in both parties called on the House Administration Committee to mark up legislation before the August break that would ban congressional stock trades. 

House Administration Chair Brian Steil has been a proponent of exploring a ban, but the committee has not announced plans for a mark-up.  

The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center found that dozens of House and Senate members made over 1,000 transactions between February and April of 2020  after receiving closed-door briefings on the imminent public health crisis. The Department of Justice investigated the behavior of several senators, but ultimately did not bring forth any charges. 

DailyMail

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