ICYMI: Rep. Susie Lee, a Democrat from Nevada, failed to properly disclose stock trades worth as much as $3.3 million

Good morning,

In case you missed it, Nevada Rep. Susie Lee’s terrible week has gotten worse. After being photographed at a costume party on 9/11 maskless, it was reported today that Lee has joined a long list of Democrats who’ve violated the STOCK Act’s disclosure provisions. Business Insider reports that Rep. Lee failed to disclose stock trades worth as much as $3.3 MILLION.

Lee did get around to reporting the trades- days to weeks late. Once again, as she did at her maskless soiree last weekend, Lee apparently believes rules and laws are mere suggestions when it comes to her.

Bottom Line: Representative Susie Lee is out of touch and believes herself to be above the law. Nevadans in congressional district 3 deserve new leadership.

Rep. Susie Lee, a Democrat from Nevada, failed to properly disclose stock trades worth as much as $3.3 million
Business Insider
Dave Levinthal
https://www.businessinsider.com/susie-lee-nevada-congress-stock-act-trades-disclosure-2021-9

Rep. Susie Lee of Nevada, a two-term Democrat representing one of the nation’s most competitive US House districts, failed to properly disclose more than 200 personal stock transactions since early 2020, according to an Insider review of congressional records.

Together, the trades are worth at least $267,000 — and as much as $3.3 million.

The stocks Lee or her husband bought or sold and disclosed late include Planet Fitness Inc., the home-goods company Wayfair Inc., the hotelier Marriott International, the cruise line Carnival Corp., the kitchen-wares and home-furnishings company Williams-Sonoma Inc., and US Foods Holding Corp., which owns a variety of food and food-service brands.

Across seven certified reports to the US House between February 2020 and May, Lee did not disclose many of her trades until several days after deadlines mandated by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, also known as the STOCK Act. She also disclosed a few trades a couple of weeks or more late.

By federal law, members of Congress have 30 days from when they become aware of a stock trade made for themselves or their spouses — and 45 days overall from the date of a trade — to formally disclose it in a certified public document known as a periodic transaction report. Members are required to report the values of their trades only in broad ranges.

Most of Lee’s late trades do not appear to trigger automatic late-filing penalties, as congressional officials generally wave a perfunctory $200 fine so long as a stock-trade disclosure is no more than 30 days past a federal deadline.

A spokesperson for Lee said the congresswoman was not directly involved in stock trades made with her money.

“These trades were executed by a third party money manager with no input whatsoever from the congresswoman,” Zoe Sheppard, Lee’s spokesperson, said in a statement to Insider. “Once made aware of the transactions, Congresswoman Lee worked with a financial advisor and the House Ethics Committee to file transactions as soon as possible to comply with disclosure requirements, and has disclosed all reportable transactions during her time in Congress.”

Asked why Lee’s disclosures were late and whether House officials had issued fines, Sheppard said: “While Congresswoman Lee has filed all reportable transactions, there have been a small number of previously unnoticed clerical errors that are being promptly addressed in consultation with the House Ethics Committee.

“The congresswoman has not been actively assessed any late filing fees or penalties at this time.”

Lee’s late disclosures don’t appear to be intentional efforts to obscure her finances or violate the STOCK Act, said Delaney Marsco, a senior legal counsel for ethics at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center.

“But if you’re filing within 35 or 40 days, why not disclose within 30 days and follow the law?” Marsco said. “It shows that the member is taking the STOCK Act as a suggestion, not the law. These are very clear deadlines.”

Sheppard did not respond to questions about why Lee traded individual stocks or whether she supported the Ban Conflicted Trading Act, sponsored by her fellow Democrat Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon. The measure would bar members of Congress from trading individual stocks.

Members of Congress who want to formally disassociate themselves from their personal investments may ask their chamber’s ethics committee to approve the creation of a qualified blind trust.

Sen. Jon Ossoff, a Democrat from Georgia, and Rep. Tom Malinowski, a Democrat from New Jersey whose stock trades the Committee on House Ethics is investigating, have this year both created qualified blind trusts for their assets. Ossoff did so “to avoid any conflict of interest, or appearance of any such conflict, which may arise from his duties and powers,” according to his trust formation papers.

Some federal lawmakers voluntarily abstain from trading stocks. Others trade only in bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and other garden-variety investments.

Lee’s stock-disclosure habits have improved lately. On September 10, she promptly disclosed a series of her most recent stock trades — including Victoria’s Secret & Co., Live Nation Entertainment Inc., and Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. — that her financial advisors notified her of on September 1.

Read more here.

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