A non-partisan ethics watchdog sent a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) calling for an investigation into another Democrat, Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY), for allegedly violating the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012 and House ethics rules.
The complaint filed by Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) with the OCE outlined that the congressman failed to adequately disclose three stock transactions made that are valued up to $115,000. In doing so, Higgins allegedly violated Federal Law and House ethics rules.
The complaint from FACT outlined a report from Business Insider saying the congressman “sold up to a combined $65,000 worth of stock in Micron Inc., a computer-data-storage company, and Sphere 3D Corp., a software-development company,” in September of last year, in addition to also having “purchased up to $50,000 in stock for Nvidia Corp., a computer-system company.”
However, Higgins, who sits on the House House Budget and House Ways and Means committees, did not disclose any of the financial transactions until this August, approximately 11 months later. The complaint from FACT also noted that the Personal Financial Disclosure that the congressman filed was “valued at up to $115,000, but on the two Periodic Transaction Reports he filed on the same day, the transactions appear to be valued at up to $150,000. This discrepancy should further merit an investigation.”
To comply with the STOCK Act and along with federal law and House ethics rules, members are required to file any financial transactions that exceed $1,000 within 30 to 45 days of the transaction,:
Members are supposed to file “full and complete” financial disclosure reports of themselves and the members’ spouse’s assets, debts, and income, in addition to the filing “periodic reports” when transactions are made that exceed $1,000. Every member is required to do so within 30 to 45 days of the transaction.
FACT’s Executive Director, Kendra Arnold, told Breitbart News that violations from members of Congress such as Higgins “must be strictly enforced to ensure that members do not use their official position for self-enrichment”:
The financial disclosure law is necessary and clear, and it must be strictly enforced to ensure that members do not use their official position for self-enrichment. This case is especially egregious because not only did Rep. Higgins apparently fail to report his stock trades as required, but he was fully aware of his duty to do so as he is a cosponsor of the financial disclosure law that he himself violated. He has even spoken out about other Members violating this particular law. The hypocrisy in this case is astounding, and the OCE must act immediately to ensure Rep. Higgins is compliant with the most basic ethics requirement by imposing the proper punishment for this violation.
In 2012, Congress quickly passed the STOCK Act and signed it into law after receiving substantial bipartisan support in both chambers. The legislation was introduced and promptly signed into law thanks to Breitbart News senior contributor Peter Schweizer, who in 2011 released Throw Them All Out, exposing corruption in the highest echelons of elected life.
Schweizer’s book, which exposed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and many others, revealed corruption concerns among Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, forcing Congress into adopting the STOCK Act that implemented stricter reporting and ethics requirements.
In the current 117th Congress, there are now 15 known Democrats serving accused of violating the rules under the law, many of which have had ethics complaints sent to the OCE asking for an investigation.
A full copy of the FACT’s complaint against Higgins can be found here.
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter.