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Pelosi Dismisses Questions On Congressmembers Violating STOCK Act

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On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed questions about a new Business Insider report that found dozens of Congressmembers had violated the 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act), and argued that Congressmembers who are able to affect the rules of the economy should be allowed to trade stock because “we are a free-market economy.”

“Madam Speaker, Insider just completed a five‑month investigation finding that 49 Members of Congress and 182 senior Congressional staffers have violated the STOCK Act, the insider trading law,” a reporter said. “I’m wondering if you have any reaction to that.”

“And secondly, should Members of Congress and their spouses be banned from trading individual stocks while serving in Congress?” the reporter asked.

“No, I don’t – no, to the second one. Any – we have a responsibility to report in the stock – on the stock,” Pelosi responded. “But I don’t – I’m not familiar with that five month review, but if the people aren’t reporting, they should be.”

“Why shouldn’t they be banned?” the reporter asked.

“Because this is a free market and people – we are a free market economy,” Pelosi responded. “They should be able to participate in that.”

This week, Business Insider released a report stating that 49 Members of Congress had violated the STOCK Act. According to the report, those who violate the 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.”

However, “No public records exist indicating whether these officials ever paid the fines. 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,” the report said.

A senior congressional aide who requested anonymity told Business Insider that enforcement of the STOCK Act in the House of Representatives relied entirely on “the honor system.”

Business Insider said the aide “confirmed that members did not get notifications when they were late. Instead, they explained, each member office was expected to figure out not only whether they were late but also how to pay the late fee.”

According to Business Insider, in the Senate, “staffers who file their disclosures late receive an email from the lawmaker-led Senate Select Committee on Ethics telling them to pay the late fee or to apply for a waiver, according to a copy of such an email reviewed by Insider and interviews with staffers. The Senate Ethics Committee didn’t respond to questions about how often this happens, how closely staff monitor filings, or whether senators also receive emailed notifications.”

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Politics

Biden’s Energy Secretary Violated Stock Disclosure Laws 9 Times Last Year

A spokeswoman for Granholm said that the late disclosures were the fault of a “clerical error”

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Photo by JIM WATSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm sold shares of stock 9 times last year between April to October, but did not disclose the sales “within the legally required 45-day window, according to federal disclosure documents”, reports CNBC.

The shares of stock were worth up to $240,000. A spokeswoman for Granholm blamed a “clerical error” saying the secretary paid a late filing fee. Granholm did not file any of the 9 disclosures until December after legal deadlines for all had passed.

The STOCK Act has been in place since 2012, which “expanded the accountability and reporting requirements for financial holdings, both for members of Congress and high-level employees of the Executive Branch like Granholm” reports CNBC.

“The news of Granholm’s apparent violations comes at a time when stock sales by public officials and members of Congress are getting a fresh look” reports CNBC. “During the past week, several members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, have introduced or reintroduced legislation that would effectively ban lawmakers and their immediate family members from actively trading stocks while the member is in office.”

According to an analysis by Business Insider’s Dave Levinthal published earlier this month, a total of 54 members of Congress violated the STOCK Act rules just last year alone.

CNBC reports on the suspicious behavior of Granholm:

When President Joe Biden nominated her to be his energy secretary, Granholm signed a detailed Ethics Agreement in which she agreed to give up part-time jobs at the University of California and at CNN, step down from several boards, and sell millions of dollars worth of stock.

On March 22, she reported 23 stock sales, many of them blue-chip companies she had more than $10,000 of shares in.

A few months later in May, Granholm filed more transaction reports detailing how she had exercised stock options in the electric bus and battery company Proterra and then sold all her shares, worth between $1 million and $5 million, on May 24.

But in between the March blue chip sales and the May Proterra sale, Granholm made 6 of the 9 stock sales that didn’t get disclosed until December.

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Trump Says Reports On A Conflict With DeSantis Are ‘Fake News’

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Ron DeSantis

During a Fox News interview on Thursday, former President Donald Trump shot down recent reports claiming that there were rising tensions between the former president and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, saying it was “fake news” and that DeSantis has “done a really terrific job in Florida.”

Trump’s comments came in response to an article from The New York Times claiming that Trump had a “long-stewing resentment” toward DeSantis.

“For months, former President Donald J. Trump has been grumbling quietly to friends and visitors to his Palm Beach mansion about a rival Republican power center in another Florida mansion, some 400 miles to the north,” The New York Times wrote. “Gov. Ron DeSantis, a man Mr. Trump believes he put on the map, has been acting far less like an acolyte and more like a future competitor, Mr. Trump complains. With his stock rising fast in the party, the governor has conspicuously refrained from saying he would stand aside if Mr. Trump runs for the Republican nomination for president in 2024.”

Hannity said that he was recently told that DeSantis does not think there has been “any conflict or bickering” between the two and that the report was “total BS” from the mainstream media.

“Is he right?” Hannity asked.

“Well, he is right,” Trump responded. “I get along great with Ron. Ron was very good on the Mueller hoax. He was right up front along with Jim Jordan, and all of the rest of them, they were fantastic. The Republicans really stuck together. And it was a great thing. And Ron was one of them. And Ron wanted to run and I endorsed him. And that helped him greatly.”

“And he went on and he’s done a really terrific job in Florida, and I think you know, Ron has been very good,” Trump continued. “He’s been a friend of mine for a long time. It’s totally fake news. I think Ron said last week, he said it very publicly, he says the press is never going to get in the middle of my friendship with Donald Trump, we’re not going to do that stuff. And he said it very strongly, I thought it was very interesting, actually. And very nice. But he said that, and I agree with him on that 100%. No, I have a very good relationship with Ron and intend to have it for a long time.”

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