Democratic Rep. Alan Lowenthal is one of Congress' most active stock traders, and he just violated a federal conflicts-of-interest law. Again.

Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California gestures during interview
Alan Lowenthal, a Democrat from California, has violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act on two occasions by failing to disclose stock trades by federal deadlines.Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call
  • Rep. Alan Lowenthal has twice violated the STOCK Act with late stock-trade disclosures.

  • He's one of 64 members of Congress to violate the conflicts-of-interest law since last year.

  • Congress is considering banning lawmakers and their spouses from trading individual stock.

Democratic Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California has again violated a federal conflicts-of-interest law — this time by failing to properly disclose four stock and corporate bond trades for himself or his wife, according to an Insider review of financial filings with the US House.

Lowenthal's wife, Deborah Malumed, sold an Equinox Inc. corporate bond in June 2021 and stock in General Motors in August 2021, according to a report the congressman filed June 24 with the US House. The congressman also reported that the couple in February 2021 received shares of International Flavors & Fragrances in exchange for shares in DuPont, which had spun off the company.

But the federal Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012 requires members of Congress to report such trades no more than 45 days after making them, meaning Lowenthal was months late reporting these trades.

Taken together, the trades are worth between $32,000 and $130,000. (Lawmakers are only required to report the value of their trades in broad ranges.)

A congressional stock-trade disclosure filing from Rep. Alan Lowenthal, a Democrat of California.
A congressional stock-trade disclosure filing from Rep. Alan Lowenthal, a Democrat of California.US House of Representatives

Lowenthal spokesperson Keith Higginbotham said the congressman is traveling abroad and his congressional office had no immediate comment.

This is the second time in seven months that Lowenthal, who typically reports hundreds of stock transactions each year, according to federal records, has violated the STOCK Act's disclosure provisions.

In November, Lowenthal was late disclosing his wife's purchase of a corporate bond in cloud computing and technology company VMWare, worth between $15,001 and $50,000, Forbes first reported.

"We have no comment," Higginbotham told Insider at the time.

Numerous violations across Congress

Lowenthal is one of 64 members of Congress that Insider's "Conflicted Congress" project and other media outlets have identified since 2021 as violating the STOCK Act with late disclosures. At least 182 senior congressional staffers have violated the STOCK Act's disclosure provisions, as well.

Insider's reporting also found numerous examples of conflicts of interest among federal lawmakers — both Democrats and Republicans.

It has long been legal for members of Congress to buy, sell, and hold individual stocks, including stocks in companies that have significant business before Congress or stand to be affected by congressional decisions.

But lawmakers on the left and right have in recent months introduced several bills to ban or otherwise limit their colleagues — and in some cases, spouses — from playing the stock market. Lawmakers are actively debating the matter, and some have promised to put a consensus bill up for a vote later this year.

Supporters of the congressional stock status quo have argued that current laws are adequate and that members of Congress should have the same investment rights as members of the general public.

Opponents argue that federal lawmakers should be held to the highest standards in avoiding financial conflicts of interest, be them real or perceived, and that the STOCK Act has proven to be inadequate.

"There's an old expression about insanity and doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result," said Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, government affairs manager for nonpartisan government watchdog group Project on Government Oversight. "Congress has clearly entered the realm of the insane when it comes to financial conflicts of interest and they need to do something very different in order to give the public the result we deserve and expect."

Read the original article on Business Insider