the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, four more Democratic members of the House of Representatives have violated a federal conflicts-of-interest and transparency law, according to a Business Insider review of new congressional financial disclosures, including our congressman Reps. Josh Gottheimer .
Reps. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania, Susie Lee of Nevada, and Brad Schneider of Illinois failed to follow the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012. The STOCK Act established significant new requirements for the Office of Government Ethics, the executive branch ethics program, ethics officials, and federal officials who file public financial disclosure reports pursuant to the Ethics in Government Act. The law requires members of Congress to report stock and other financial trades for themselves and their spouses within 45 days of making them or face financial penalties. Democrat Immunity seem to be holding at the moment .
Congressman Gottheimer and his wife exchanged up to $15,000 of stock in Independent Bank Corp. in November 2021, but waited until August 2022 to report it, according to a financial disclosure he filed August 13.
“No shares were bought or sold here. It was just an exchange,” said Chris D’Aloia, Gottheimer’s spokesperson. “When our office was notified of this exchange on August 10 of this year, we immediately filed.”
Additionally, D’Aloia said that before taking office, the representative “turned over management of his retirement savings and investments to a third party, who has full investment discretion.”
In February, Congressman Gottheimer said he would go further and establish a blind trust for his assets. A blind trust is a type of living trust, either revocable or irrevocable, that grants full control of assets to the trustee. The trustee for a blind trust cannot be the trustor. The trustee must be a third party who doesn’t have a close, personal relationship to the trustor. This is necessary for a blind trust to serve its intended purposes: avoid conflicts of interest and achieve a high level of privacy.
Congress considers a “qualified blind trust,” a formal arrangement requiring congressional approval, to be the “most comprehensive approach” to avoiding “potential conflicts of interest or the appearance of such conflicts.” Such a blind trust requires a lawmaker officially transfers management of their financial assets to an independent trustee, and they can be expensive and time-consuming to establish.
At present, Gottheimer has not formally established one, according to House records.