The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a non-partisan ethics watchdog organization, demanded an investigation into House Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Kim Schrier’s (D-WA) stock transactions after she allegedly failed to adequately disclose up to one million dollars in Apple stock sales, allegedly violating federal law.

The watchdog filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) asking for a probe into Schrier for failing to adequately disclose up to a million dollars in Apple stocks that were bought in a jointly held family trust, emphasizing that she sits on the committee which jurisdiction includes “electronic communications and the Internet,” “privacy, cybersecurity, and data security,” and “consumer protection and product safety” — all of which has the potential to influence bills that could impact Apple’s stock price.

She is required to submit a periodic transaction report with the clerk in the House of Representatives within 30 to 45 days of stock transitions over $1,000, made on behalf of themselves or their spouses under the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012, which would have required her to submit after the purchase of up to a million dollars in Apple stock from the jointly held family trust.

Forbes reported that stock was purchased on July 27 through her jointly held family trust, but a periodic transaction report was not filed with the clerk until November 12, months after the deadline. A spokesperson for the congresswoman insisted that she was unaware of the transaction until after the purchase was made since the transitions are made by her husband, noting: “As soon as she became aware, she filed the required report.” However, the watchdog argued, “There is no excuse for violating this law, and if Members were allowed to claim they didn’t know about transactions then the law would be completely ineffectual and unenforceable.”

Another report from Sludge revealed that the congresswoman and her spouse purchased an additional $250,001 to $500,000 worth of Apple stock on October 28 but did report the purchases within the given window on November 18. Sludge also uncovered that Schrier’s previous annual financial reports showed “In 2020, Schrier and her spouse sold all shares of a previous stake they held in Apple and collected between $1 million and $5 million in capital gains and dividends income.”

The Sludge report further revealed what bills the Energy and Commerce Committee is responsible for, and letters the committee’s chairman has issued in the past:

The committee’s chairman Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) has sent Apple CEO Tim Cook two letters this year related to privacy issues, a strong indication that these issues could come before the committee in the form of a hearing or legislation. One letter sought information about when the company learned about security issues with group FaceTime calls, while the other urged the company to review its privacy labels for apps, in light of reports suggesting they are misleading.

The Open Apps Markets Act, which would require companies like Apple that control operating systems to allow third-party apps and app stores, has been referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill would also bar Apple from using non-public information it collects from its app store for developing competing apps, and it would prevent the company from prohibiting app developers from telling consumers that their products can be purchased more cheaply outside the app store.

FACT’s Executive Director, Kendra Arnold, said in a press release that members must provide transparency, “especially when the Member has oversight of the companies they are buying and selling,” noting that members should be held accountable when they do not follow the rules set in place:

“These laws are essentially meant to provide real-time reporting and the 30 or 45 day deadline is the maximum time for disclosure, which must be met especially when the Member has oversight of the companies they are buying and selling. The disclosure laws are among the simplest rules to follow, and there is no excuse for inaccurate, incomplete, or late filings. It is essential that our lawmakers are held accountable for their actions, and I encourage the OCE to immediately investigate and apply the proper consequences for violating this law,”

“The failure of Members to follow the most basic ethics rules they created leads to public distrust in our elected officials as a whole,” FACT’s complaint said. “Moreover, the lack of any consequence for Members who break the law leads to the public perception that the laws do not apply equally to all.”

“We request the OCE investigate Rep. Schrier’s stock trades and apparent failure to file the required timely and accurate disclosures, and impose any appropriate sanctions including fines and penalties,” the complained added.

In 2012, Congress quickly passed the STOCK Act and signed it into law after it received substantial bipartisan support in both chambers. The legislation was introduced and promptly signed into law thanks to Breitbart News senior contributor Peter Schweizer, who in 2011 released Throw Them All Out, exposing corruption in the highest echelons of elected life.

Schweizer’s book, which exposed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and many others, revealed corruption concerns among Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, forcing Congress into adopting the STOCK Act that implemented stricter reporting and ethics requirements.

With only a year into the current 117th Congress, there have already been over 15 Democrats serving who have been accused of violating the STOCK Act, many of whom have had ethics complaints sent to the OCE asking for an investigation.

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