A Democratic congressman from New Jersey may have just found himself embroiled in a nasty scandal.
The Daily Wire reports that Rep. Tom Malinowski has come under scrutiny for allegedly failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock trades that he made just as the coronavirus pandemic was starting to take hold in the United States.
“While New Jersey was counting on our federal representatives for leadership the most, Tom Malinowski was making secret stock deals,” charged Harrison Neely, a New Jersey-based GOP consultant, according to the Daily Wire.
“His constituents deserve further investigation into his actions,” Neely added.
Questions of disclosure
Questions about Malinowski’s trading were first raised in the wake of a Thursday report from Business Insider. The outlet reportedly obtained documents from the congressman’s office showing he made more than two dozen purchases and sales of stocks during the late winter and early spring of 2020, when COVID-19 first hit the United States.
According to the documents cited by Business Insider, “Malinowski made at least $671,000 and as much as $2.76 million worth of trades during 2020.” The outlet also said the documents outline “stock-trade information that does not appear publicly on the House’s website, as required by law.”
Indeed, it’s not so much the timing or the amount of the trades that’s causing the trouble; rather, it’s Malinowski’s apparent failure to disclose them that is drawing him ire. According to the Daily Wire, a bill signed into law in 2012 by then-President Barack Obama requires members of Congress, and some other government employees, to “report certain investment transactions within 45 days after a trade.”
“There’s no good reason”
Now that he’s been caught well past the deadline, Malinowski, for his part, appears to be trying to be upfront about the matter. According to Business Insider, the congressman’s chief of staff, Colston Reid, said the delay in filing the required disclosures “was an oversight that [Malinowski] is taking steps to correct.”
Another spokesperson for Malinowski said there was no “effort on the part of the congressman to conceal any trade activities,” Business Insider reported.
“There’s no good reason other than putting off difficult paperwork in the crunch of my responsibilities,” Rep. Malinowski himself admitted, according to the Daily Wire. “I own that. I did it late and that was a mistake. I’m not in any way disputing that.”
It is unclear what penalties could result from the congressman’s alleged violation of the disclosures law, which is known as the STOCK Act.
In the meantime, the congressman has reportedly said he’s willing to pay a fine if the House Ethics Committee deems that penalty appropriate.