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I realize most of you are not as interested in this topic as I may be, but this may still be of interest to you:
…49 members of Congress and at least 182 of the highest-paid Capitol Hill staffers were late in filing their stock trades during 2020 and 2021.
Lawmakers and senior congressional staffers who blow past the deadlines established by the 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act are supposed to pay a late fee of $200 the first time. Increasingly higher fines follow if they continue to be late — potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars in extreme cases.
But accountability and transparency are decidedly lacking.
Forty-nine seems a bit low…how many others filed incomplete forms or otherwise just flat out lied on them? (Same question for the staffers.) But surely I overestimate the lack of honor in our ruling beltway:
Congressional ethics staff wouldn’t confirm the existence of nonpublic ledgers tracking how many officials paid fines for violating the STOCK Act. And 19 lawmakers wouldn’t answer questions from Insider about whether they’d paid a penalty. Ten other lawmakers said they’d paid their fines, but they declined to provide proof, such as a receipt or canceled check.
Not very transparent there but surely Nancy’s House overflows with honor (aside from her dirty Tesla stock purchase earlier this year, of course. But I digress):
It also shows how Congress sets a lower standard for itself on financial conflict-of-interest matters than on other concerns. For instance, consider that the House routinely issues automatic fines when members violate COVID-19 mask mandates and makes the information public. But when it comes to a member’s personal finances, the House doesn’t do a particularly good job of policing itself on a law it helped write.
At least we can count on the Ethics Committees, right?:
No reports exist showing how often the Office of Congressional Ethics investigated financial-disclosure matters before the STOCK Act’s passage. But one former attorney who worked in the office said nothing changed after lawmakers passed the law.
“We were not looking into it. There was just nobody paying attention to it. No one was filing complaints,” said Kedric Payne, who was the former deputy chief counsel at the Office of Congressional Ethics around the time that the STOCK Act was passed. …
“When you have the ethics committee, who has failed to go after these blatant violations — it sends a message that anything goes,” Payne added.
Yes, it appears that anything goes among our entitled class in this government of the people, by the better people, and for the betterment of the pocketbooks of those better people.
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