Walz Calls for Oversight Committee Vigilance on President-elect’s STOCK Act Compliance
[MANKATO, MN] – Yesterday, Representative Tim Walz (MN-01) sent a letter to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chair Jason Chaffetz and Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings requesting the Committee pay close attention to President-elect Trump’s compliance with the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act upon inauguration.
Signed into law in 2012 after passing the House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan majorities, the Walz-authored STOCK Act bans insider trading on Capitol Hill. In addition to prohibiting Members of Congress, their staff, and executive branch employees from using information obtained through their positions to profit on the stock market, the bill also explicitly bans the President and Vice President from doing the same. As a result, unlike virtually all other conflict of interest rules governing federal employees, the President is not exempt from the provisions of the STOCK Act.
Rep. Walz and Congress’ intent of the STOCK Act was reaffirmed by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) in a December 15, 2016 legal advisory. Among other requirements the President must obey, the interpretive guidance states that the STOCK Act bars the President from: “using nonpublic information for private profit; engaging in insider trading; or intentionally influencing an employment decision or practice of a private entity solely on the basis of partisan political affiliation.”
Since being elected to the highest office in the land, President-elect Trump has responded to matters of conflict of interest and ethics laws like the STOCK Act by claiming “the law’s totally on [his] side” and that “The president can’t have a conflict of interest.” These statements stand in stark contrast to the letter of the STOCK Act and OGE’s corresponding legal advisory.
“As the President-elect’s comments raise many questions concerning whether he intends to comply with the STOCK Act, I am requesting that the Committee keep a very close eye on the actions of the President-elect upon taking the oath of office as they relate to the provisions of the STOCK Act,” wrote Rep. Walz.
“Congress has a constitutional responsibility to provide oversight of the actions of the executive branch, and investigate into those actions when necessary,” Walz continued. “I fully expect that the Committee will not treat this serious ethical matter any differently.”
To read the full letter calling on House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform leadership to keep a close eye on the President-elect’s actions upon taking office, please click here.