A Florida Democrat lawmaker has been busted trading stocks in a way that seems awfully suspicious.
According to a financial disclosure report filed late last month, Rep. Lois Frankel sold between $1,001 and $15,000 shares of First Republic stock right as its price was tanking.
“Frankel sold her stock when it was worth $34.27 a share. By that point, the price had already been battered following the closure of Silicon Valley Bank. But following the sale, the stock fell further and by the time the bank was shuttered, shares were worth just $3.51,” according to the Daily Mail.
Then right after she sold her shares of First Republic, but before JPMorgan took control of the bank, she purchased between $1,001 and $15,000 shares of JPMorgan itself.
When contacted by The Daily Caller, the outlet that broke this story on Monday, Frankel said through a spokesperson that her account is “managed independently by a money manager who buys and sells stocks at his discretion.”
Critics weren’t too convinced:
This interesting development comes only days after news broke that Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat, and Matt Gaetz, a Republican, have teamed up to push a bill that would restrict members of Congress from owning or trading stocks.
Speaking on Fox News’ “Jesse Watters Primetime” earlier this week, Gaetz introduced the legislation, as well as a proposed “Pelosi Provision” that he explained would prevent spouses from trading on behalf of their congressional family members.
“AOC is wrong a lot – she would probably say the same thing about me – but she’s not corrupt. And I will work with anyone and everyone to ensure that Congress is not so compromised,” the GOP lawmaker said.
Speaking about the bill, Gaez also mentioned Frankel by name.
“About one in every four members of Congress is doing this [trading stocks], and it’s not exactly like I’m elected with a bunch of Gordon Gekkos and Bobby Axelrods,” he said.
“Take Lois Frankel. … She’s been a lawmaker since I was five years old, and I’m supposed to believe that all of a sudden she’s making moves like she’s Warren Buffett? This congressional stock trading has all of the fairness of like a Lia Thomas swimming competition, and I think we should put an end to it,” he added.
In fairness to Frankel, at least she filed the proper paperwork (the financial disclosure form mentioned earlier). The same can’t be said of all her colleagues.
Back in January, Insider ran a report identifying 78 members of Congress who’d “recently failed to properly report their financial trades as mandated by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, also known as the STOCK Act.”
“Congress passed the law a decade ago to combat insider trading and conflicts of interest among their own members and force lawmakers to be more transparent about their personal financial dealings. A key provision of the law mandates that lawmakers publicly — and quickly — disclose any stock trade made by themselves, a spouse, or a dependent child,” Insider reported.
Unfortunately, many members of Congress have reportedly failed to comply with the law. Worse, they’ve trotted out every excuse in the book, including “ignorance of the law, clerical errors, and mistakes by an accountant.”
It doesn’t help that the fine for violating the STOCK Act is a measly $200 or so — an amount that’s usually waived by House or Senate ethics officials.
Dovetailing back to Gaetz and Ocasio-Cortez’s bill, the Bipartisan Restoring Faith in Government Act, it’s also been sponsored by Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat.
“The fact that Members of the Progressive Caucus, the Freedom Caucus, and the Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, reflecting the entirety of the political spectrum, can find common ground on key issues like this should send a powerful message to America,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement.
“We must move forward on issues that unite us, including our firm belief that trust in government must be restored, and that Members of Congress, including their dependents, must be prohibited from trading in stocks while they are serving in Congress and have access to sensitive, inside information,” he continued.
“The ability to individually trade stock erodes the public’s trust in government. When Members have access to classified information, we should not be trading in the stock market on it. It’s really that simple,” Ocasio-Cortez added.