WASHINGTON – Representative Tom Suozzi admitted on Thursday that he failed to file the required periodic reports on his stock transactions while in Congress after an outside watchdog group filed a complaint against him and six other lawmakers to the Congressional Ethics Office.
Suozzi, a Democrat from Glen Cove, made about 300 stock transactions with a total value ranging from about $ 3.2 million to $ 11 million from 2017 to 2020, but failed to file the periodic reports required by the law on stocks and house rules, according to the campaign. Legal center.
The center – a non-partisan nonprofit that uses the law to promote voting rights, congressional transparency and other ethical issues – asked the bureau to investigate whether Suozzi knowingly and willfully withheld the reports, which are due 45 days after the transactions under the law and the rules which target the insider trading of the legislator.
Suozzi’s spokesperson acknowledged that the representative had not filed the reports, but said it was the result of a “misunderstanding”. The spokesperson said independent advisers manage the shares and Suozzi has filed annual reports listing all trades.
“The congressman’s investments are managed by independent advisers with discretion over all transactions,” Suozzi spokesman said in a statement.
“Due to a misunderstanding, periodic transaction reports have not been filed, but each transaction has been reported in its annual financial statement. In the future, all appropriate periodic disclosures will be filed in a timely manner,” he said. he declared.
“We are asking that the Congressional Ethics Office investigate to determine if this was intentional or if there was some other reason for this violation of the rule,” said Kedric Payne, general counsel for the center.
The centre’s complaint said Suozzi should have been aware of the 45-day report requirement because he had completed mandatory ethics training as a new congressman and because of news from other members of the congress. Congress under investigation for not filing the reports.
Suozzi could face a fine of $ 200 for each missed report if the Congressional Ethics Office and House Ethics Committee determine that he did not knowingly and willfully violate the law and the rules of the House. bedroom. If the committee finds that he knowingly broke the law, he could face a much larger fine and jail time.
Last year, the ethics committee fined Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) $ 200 for each of six periodic transaction reports that she failed to file within 45 days of l buying or selling stocks, according to the Miami Herald.
Suozzi is the richest of the five Long Island members in the House, with a net worth of between $ 1.7 and $ 4.2 million in 2018, according to estimates based on his annual financial statements from the Center for Responsive Politics , non-partisan.
According to the complaint, Suozzi completed approximately 64 transactions valued between $ 456,064 and $ 1,865,000 in 2017; 31 transactions valued between $ 528,031 and $ 1,445,000 in 2018; 104 stock trades with a total value ranging from $ 1.1 million to $ 3.8 million in 2019, and 104 transactions with a total value ranging from $ 1.1 million to $ 4 million in 2020 .
The STOCK Act, sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.) in the Senate and former Representative Louise Slaughter (D-Rochester) in the House, was enacted in 2012 for the purpose of using public disclosure to stop insider trading in legislators.
The center also filed complaints against Representative Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Representative Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), Representative Lance Gooden (R-Texas), Delegate Michael San Nicolas (D-Guam), Representative Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Representative Roger Williams (R-Texas).