Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark has quietly stopped trading stocks in the months since she violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, a federal financial conflicts-of-interest and transparency law.
Federal records indicate that Clark — a Massachusetts Democrat and potential successor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader — last disclosed stock trades in September 2021.
Those trades involved Clark’s husband, Rodney Dowell, dumping more than two-dozen stocks, including shares in Microsoft, PepsiCo, Starbucks, Visa and Google parent Alphabet. The sales came three weeks after Insider reported Clark failed to properly disclose earlier stocks trades by Dowell worth as much as $285,000.
Since then, Clark and Dowell, who had previously traded stocks regularly, have strictly invested their money in US Treasury notes, purchasing between $450,000 to $1 million worth of the conservative, fixed-income securities, according to congressional filings.
The change in the couple’s investment habits also coincide with a pitched debate on Capitol Hill over whether to ban members of Congress and their spouses from trading individual stocks at all. The Committee on House Administration conducted a public hearing on the matter in April, and lawmakers are actively working to consolidate several bills into one legislative proposal fit for a vote.
Insider’s “Conflicted Congress” project, first published in December, has revealed at least 60 members of Congress and 182 high-ranking congressional staffers who have violated the STOCK Act, and dozens of members personally invest in stocks that conflict with their duties as elected officials.
Clark’s office declined to answer specific questions from Insider about the 5-term congresswoman’s stock investments and whether she supports a congressional stock trade ban for lawmakers and their spouses.
“Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark continues to make every effort to fully and transparently comply with all financial disclosure requirements of members of Congress,” Clark spokesperson Elana Ross wrote in a statement to Insider.
Changing stock-trading behavior
Clark isn’t the only member of Congress to voluntarily change his or her investment behavior since December.
Rep. Peter Welch, a Democrat from Vermont, said he and his wife would stop trading individual stocks after a long history of doing so.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat from New Jersey and one of Congress’ more active stock traders, announced that he would place his stock assets in a “qualified blind trust” — a formal arrangement, requiring congressional approval, in which a lawmaker officially transfers management of their financial assets to an independent trustee.
Congressional guidance suggests the trusts provide the “most comprehensive approach” to avoiding “potential conflicts of interest or the appearance of such conflicts, although they can be costly and time-consuming to establish. As of Monday, Gottheimer’s blind trust had not been formally established, according to congressional records.
Just over half of members of Congress (55%) did not report owning or trading individual stocks in their 2020 annual disclosures, according to an Insider analysis of federal disclosures.
Some opted for broad-based investments such as mutual funds, or conservative holdings like government bonds. A few even said they kept their cash in old-fashioned savings accounts.
But many other lawmakers are active individual stock traders, with some members of Congress or their spouses making dozens, even hundreds of stock trades each year, congressional records indicate.
Read the original article on Business Insider