Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), could face a possible ethics probe in the House of Representatives after an independent ethics watchdog asked Congress’s independent ethics office to start one.
A nonprofit ethics watchdog, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, had written a letter Tuesday to ask Congress to use their independent ethics office to launch an ethics probe into Maloney’s filings. The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust Executive Director, Kendra Arnold, wrote a letter to the House of Representatives Office of Congressional Ethics on Tuesday, citing Business Insider as their evidence.
In the letter, Arnold requested the Office of Congressional Ethics immediately look into the Congressman for violating House ethics rules. Arnold laid out the Federal Law and House Ethics rules in which she stated that Members are required to disclose financial information to the public, which includes the Member to “provide a ‘full and complete’ statement of the Member’s assets, debts, and income,” adding that “a Member must file a periodic report anytime they have a financial transaction that exceeds $1,000, which must be filed a maximum of 45 days from the date of the transaction.”
Contrary to this legal requirement, it was recently reported that Representative Maloney failed to publicly disclose stock transactions that occurred in June 2020. These involve eight stocks valued at $11,051, which he ultimately reported in April 2021. Maloney’s filings described his failures to comply with federal law as an “oversight” and a spokesperson for Maloney stated, “We assume this is a routine belated filings issue, and if there is a penalty of course we will pay.”
Maloney’s response to his legal violation should greatly concern the Ethics Committee. First, Maloney’s description of his failure to follow the disclosure laws as an “oversight” is incorrect — it is a violation of the law and one that must have consequences. Moreover, there is no such thing as a “routine belated filings issue” and describing it as such further demonstrates his disregard for the law. The disclosure requirements are an integral part of an ethical and transparent government: accurate and timely filing is the only method for citizens to determine whether Members have conflicts of interest or are wrongfully profiting from their position. Members are well aware of the law and must affirmatively act to ensure compliance. The OCE must investigate Maloney’s stock trades and his failures to file the required disclosures, and impose appropriate sanctions including fines and penalties.
Breitbart News outlined Monday the report from Business Insider, which talked about the federal law that mandates Congress members must publicly disclose the stock trades in a ‘periodic transaction report’ within a window of 30 to 45 days of making a trade, which Maloney failed to do.
Maloney traded the stocks in June of 2020, and he did not write a letter to the House of Representatives clerk until this month. In the letter, Maloney admitted the mistake in filing, and Maloney’s office said the filing was late due to an “oversight,” as reported by Business Insider:
After Maloney’s mother died, he inherited significant shares in several major companies from her “including those of Apple Inc., Microsoft Corporation, alcohol conglomerate Diageo PLC, and investment management company BlackRock Inc” for a total value of $11,051. In June of last year, Business Insider asserted, Maloney sold the stocks but he did not publicly disclose their sale until last week.
“During preparation for the filer’s [financial disclosure] report, it was determined that these 8 transactions totaling $11k should have been reported on a [periodic transaction report],” Maloney wrote on April 2 in a letter to the Clerk. “As soon as this oversight was discovered, this filing was submitted to provide full transparency into that sale.”
Maloney’s spokeswoman Libbie Wilcox told Business Insider that neither the House Ethics Committee nor the Office of Congressional Ethics has informed Maloney’s office of any investigation into the matter, but that the DCCC chairman is prepared to pay any fines associated with his apparent violation of federal law.
Business Insider also reported Delaney Marsco, a senior legal counsel for ethics, to another nonprofit, the Campaign Legal Center, which said they are “reviewing the matter.” Campaign Legal Center has filed complaints on other lawmakers in the past.
Marsco also told Business Insider, “If members of Congress can’t get this right, and the rules are too complicated for them or their financial advisors to follow, then maybe they shouldn’t be allowed to trade stocks in the first place.”
This all comes as a Republican New York Assemblyman, Colin Schmitt, mounts a campaign to unseat the campaign chairman. This past weekend, Schmitt told Breitbart News Saturday Maloney “is not what the Hudson Valley is about. This is not our values.”
Schmitt said, “Our congressmen has abandoned us; he’s sold us out, and I said before we deserve a congressman, not a Democrat campaign chairman, not somebody who votes a hundred percent of the time [with] Nancy Pelosi and whose sole job now isn’t to worry about the farmers in Orange County, isn’t … to worry about the commuters in Putnam county, the taxpayers in Westchester County. No, his priority is to divide this country, to go to every single state of this nation and divide us politically for political gain. That’s unacceptable! That’s not somebody who represents a really … a middle of the road, your family value or district that we have here right,” he explained.