Nearly 60% of House members in the United States have delayed filing their personal finance documents this year.
The US. Federal law requires members of the House and Senate to submit details of their personal finances by May 15 each year
However, the majority of House members failed to meet this deadline. Accountable.US, a group that opposes corruption and leans towards the left, discovered that approximately 60% of representatives in the House of Representatives asked for more time to submit their personal financial disclosure forms. Of those individuals, more than 80% requested an additional 90 days. Of the lawmakers who filed extensions, 54.5% were Republicans.
While these extensions are legal, the frequency with which they are used highlights the shortcomings of the existing ethics rules governing Congress. These delays in providing accurate and up-to-date information make it more challenging for voters to assess whether lawmakers have potential conflicts of interest related to their assets, stock trades, agreements, and other personal finances arrangements that require disclosure.
Furthermore, personal finances disclosures allow the public to access additional information about lawmakers’ personal finances activities, such as earnings from book deals and campaign-related debts. The report’s release coincides with ongoing efforts by some legislators and advocates to prohibit members of Congress from owning or trading stocks.
Violations of the current requirement to disclose stock trades within 30 days are common and often go unpunished
Various polls conducted in recent years have revealed significant public support for banning stock trading in Congress. Additionally, proposed bills not only seek to implement such a ban but also aim to strengthen enforcement mechanisms related to stock trade disclosures.
Liz Zelnick, director of Accountable.US’s Economic Security & Corporate Power Program, emphasized that the current personal finances disclosure practices enable lawmakers to engage in secretive trading, potentially leading to corruption and conflicts of interest. Zelnick questioned the motives of the Republican-controlled House, which has yet to take action on the issue despite House Speaker Kevin McCarthy previously expressing support for a ban.