Watchdog wants Sen. Hickenlooper’s stock transactions investigated

Breitbart News reports that an ethics watchdog organization is calling for an investigation to be launched into stock transactions made by the wife of Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO). 

The watchdog organization is The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), which is a non-partisan group. FACT recently called for the investigation in a complaint that it filed with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics.

The importance of timing

FACT’s call for the investigation comes after Hickenlooper, last month, reported several stock transactions that were made between March and November of 2021. The transactions are valued at up to $1.3 million. They include Liberty Media Corporation, Liberty Broadband Corporation, and Qurate Retail.

The problem is that Hickenlooper reported these transactions far too late.

Under the  Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012, every member of Congress has to submit a stock transaction report within 30 to 45 days of every transaction that exceeds $1,000. This not only applies to such transactions made by a congressman or a congresswoman, but it also applies to such transactions made by their spouses.

Hickenlooper, with some of the transactions, was almost a year too late in reporting them.

FACT’s complaint

It is Hickenlooper’s untimely reporting that has led FACT to call for the investigation.

In its complaint, FACT writes:

The laws must be strictly followed in order to reveal whether a Senator has used non-public information for profit or whether his official actions were altered in order to benefit his personal investments. When disclosures are this late it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to determine whether a Senator had a conflict of interest and the law becomes ineffective. Senators are well aware of their duty to comply with the law and have an affirmative duty to do so.

FACT concludes by urging the committee to “act to ensure Senators comply with the most basic ethics requirements to maintain the public’s trust.”

It remains to be seen whether the committee will go ahead and investigate Hickenlooper.

Background

The problem here, namely, insider trading by members of Congress, has been known for some time now. It is what led to the 2012 STOCK Act. As this case and others continue to demonstrate, the STOCK Act does not appear to be getting the job done.

It is for this reason that, recently, a bipartisan group of Congress members has called for a more effective piece of legislation, perhaps even one that bans Congressional stock trading altogether. For obvious reasons, though, the idea doesn’t appear to be gaining much traction in Congress.

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