The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a non-partisan ethics watchdog, sent a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) calling for the immediate investigation of former Democrat Rep. Harley Rouda (CA) for allegedly violating House ethics rules.
FACT outlines in the letter that Rouda allegedly broke Federal law and House Ethics rules when he was a member of Congress before losing last year. Members are supposed to disclose their financial information publicly.
In the filing, they are supposed to include a “full and complete” statement of their own and their spouse’s assets, debts, and income. This includes the periodic reports of financial transactions they may make that exceed $1,000. They have between a 30 to 45-day window of time to report the transaction.
In addition to the letter from FACT, Kendra Arnold, the non-partisan watchdog’s executive director, also released a statement saying, “The law is abundantly clear and there are no excuses for not complying once, let alone twice.” She continued:
It appears that even though he was fully aware of the law, Rouda was not taking these reporting requirements seriously. The disclosure laws are the only avenue for citizens to monitor whether House Members have conflicts of interest or are wrongly profiting from information they’ve obtained from their official position, and repeat violations are unacceptable. The OCE must investigate immediately and impose the proper sanctions including fines and penalties if found in violation.
Orange County Register reported at the beginning of July Rouda had missed the deadline he had to disclose trades his wife made by selling off shares of Amazon and Tesla while he was still in office last year. According to his spokesperson, the Democrat was not aware of the trades until after leaving office.
The paper pointed out more members are coming under scrutiny for their financial dealings due to potentially “profiting on information about the pandemic that was not initially shared with the public.”
The Register added:
In early 2020, Rouda’s son showed Rouda’s wife, Kaira Rouda, how to use the stock trading app Robinhood, according to a spokesman for Rouda’s campaign. Kaira Rouda ended up using the app in late May and early June 2020 for three trades: to buy and then sell up to $15,000 in Amazon stock and to sell up to $15,000 in Tesla stock. Business Insider first reported Rouda did not disclose the trades within the required 45-day window. Rouda’s campaign on Tuesday declined to share the exact amount of the trades (which are listed as ranges of $1,001 to $15,000 on disclosure forms) but insisted they were “far below” $15,000 each.
“Harley Rouda should absolutely be investigated for violating federal law not once, but twice. He failed to disclose stock trades when he was a congressman and should be held accountable for it,” the National Republican Congressional Committee Spokeswoman Torunn Sinclair said in a statement.