WASHINGTON — Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan violated a congressional financial law by failing to report two stock sales by the federal disclosure deadline.
A spokesman for Sullivan said the senator was unaware of the stock sales, which were managed by a third party, until weeks after the deadline. The late disclosures broke the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, which aims to prevent insider trading and conflicts of interest by requiring members of Congress to report their stock sales within 45 days.
Missed STOCK Act deadlines like Sullivan’s are not uncommon in Congress. Insider, which has been tracking financial disclosure violations and first reported on Sullivan’s infraction, has identified 75 members of Congress — both Democrat and Republican — who have broken STOCK Act rules since 2021.
Sullivan sold $15,001 to $50,000 worth of stock in Mowi, a Norwegian seafood company, and $1,001 to $15,000 worth of stock in Five Below Inc., a discount store chain, in August and reported them on Nov. 3.
Sullivan’s financial disclosure report said that a third party investment professional sold the stocks — which the senator inherited from his parents — on Sullivan’s behalf. The third party did not notify Sullivan of the sales until Oct. 30, according to the report.
Sullivan spokesman Mike Reynard said that the senator “complies with all Senate ethics and financial disclosure requirements.”
Reynard added that, “as soon as the senator was made aware of the sale, the necessary steps were immediately taken.”
Liz Hempowicz, vice president of policy and government affairs with the Project On Government Oversight, said that reporting disclosures late “delays transparency” with the public, making it harder to hold lawmakers accountable.
But Hempowicz said that while STOCK Act violations do shine a light on the fact that members of Congress can participate in the stock market despite ethics watchdogs’ concerns that they have access to insider information, “I just don’t think that is what the public is so outraged by right now is that members of Congress are missing filing deadlines.”
“They are outraged to hear that members of Congress are engaged in this kind of financial behavior with zero restrictions,” she said.
Late STOCK Act disclosures come with a $200 fine, though they have not always been enforced. Members of Congress can also apply for a waiver.
Some House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are pursuing legislation to ban members of Congress from owning or trading stock. However, Hempowicz said she is not optimistic that congressional stock reform will make it to the president’s desk soon.
“I don’t think the majority of Congress in either chamber is that galvanized around giving themselves meaningful restrictions in this space,” she said.
Reporter Riley Rogerson is a full-time reporter for the ADN based in Washington, D.C. Her position is supported by Report for America, which is working to fill gaps in reporting across America and to place a new generation of journalists in community news organizations around the country. Report for America, funded by both private and public donors, covers up to 50% of a reporter’s salary. It’s up to Anchorage Daily News to find the other half, through local community donors, benefactors, grants or other fundraising activities.
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