Former Congressman and current Congressional candidate Harley Rouda has come under fire for a series of stock transactions made in 2020, which the watchdog group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) alleges were not properly disclosed.
Although Rouda, a Democrat, lost his seat to Republican contender Michelle Steel in the 2020 election, he has announced that he plans to run again in 2022 to attempt to retake his old seat. This concerning new revelation by FACT threatens to damage his campaign before it gets off the ground.
This is not Rouda’s first brush with financial disclosure law. In 2020, he was forced to pay a fine after having similarly failed to disclose a number of stock transactions which had occurred the previous year.
Financial transactions by politicians are taken seriously because, if unchecked, they could lead to conflicts of interest between private entities and the politicians who are tasked with overseeing and regulating them. This is particularly a concern when it comes to large companies like Amazon and Tesla, both of which have been the subject of Congress’ attention in recent years.
According to FACT, Rouda’s wife traded as much as $45,000 in stock in the companies Amazon and Tesla between May and June of last year, when Rouda was representing California’s 48th District in the House of Representatives.
Members of Congress, and their spouses, are governed by strict rules of financial disclosure. Among other things, they must publicly report all information about their personal finances, including investments. All transactions over $1,000 must be publicly disclosed within 45 days.
As a result of this revelation, FACT sent a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics, calling for the Office to investigate Rouda’s stock transactions and apply any relevant sanctions if he is found to have violated the rules.
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