- Rep. Tom Suozzi just disclosed 31 stock trades that are months or years overdue.
- Suozzi is running for governor of New York and is facing an ethics complaint.
- His office didn’t explain the late disclosures, which are together worth up to $885,000.
Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democrat who is running for the governor of New York, violated a federal conflict-of-interest law by failing to properly report 31 stock trades, according to an Insider review of congressional financial disclosures.
Taken together, the trades are worth as much as $885,000.
The trades are months or even years late. One of Suozzi’s stock purchases, in aluminum manufacturer Superior Industries International, Inc., occurred on September 5, 2017, but the congressman didn’t report it until March 3, 2022, federal disclosures indicate.
Under the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, or STOCK Act, Suozzi was required to report the trades publicly 45 days after they happened.
The most recent of the 31 trades he reported — a purchase of between $15,001 and $50,000 in General Electric stock — came in June 2021, according to report the March 3 report.
Other late trades include the stock of Apple, IBM, Citigroup, Cisco Systems, Verizon Communications, aerospace and defense contractor Boeing, asset manager BlackRock, tobacco giant Altria Group, and heavy machinery manufacturer Caterpillar.
The late disclosures come as the House is preparing to conduct a formal hearing on March 16 to consider whether to amend the STOCK Act. Among the issues lawmakers are expected to consider: banning members of Congress and their spouses from trading individual stock and strengthening governing the personal finances of officials.
This isn’t the first time that Suozzi’s stock trades have received scrutiny. The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center filed an ethics complaint against Suozzi last year, saying that he failed to properly report roughly 300 trades.
Delaney Marsco, a senior legal counsel on ethics at the Campaign Legal Center, told Insider in an interview that it was impossible to know whether Suozzi’s latest financial filing included some of the missing trades her organization noted in its complaint.
“Unless we get more disclosure from the representative it’s very hard to know,” she said. “It deprives voters of information they have had a right to for years and haven’t had.”
Suozzi did not respond to Insider’s questions about the late trade disclosures. His office previously told NPR that he doesn’t manage his own stock portfolio.
Members of Congress and their spouses are required to regularly report their stock trades even if a third party, such as a broker, buys and sells stocks on their behalf — and all members of Congress undergo training ethics about federal reporting requirements.
Suozzi’s tardy trades detailed in his report were valued somewhere between $199,031 and $885,000, according to an Insider analysis. Lawmakers are required only to report their trades in broad ranges, making an exact dollar figure difficult to pinpoint without Suozzi himself sharing the figure with Insider.
Marsco said that timely disclosures were crucial for voters to be able to evaluate what financial interests members of Congress might have when they are making decisions about spending and legislation.
“When there are years between these disclosures, we have no idea how members’ actions were affected by those interests,” she said. “There is a perception of corruption, that members of Congress are intentionally hiding these trades — whether they are or not — there is a perception that it’s about insider information or that they don’t want us to see it.”
Dozens of lawmakers violate the STOCK Act
Suozzi was first elected to the US House in 2016 and sits on the House Committee on Financial Services, which regulates the securities and banking industries. He lost his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2006, against disgraced former Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
Members of Congress who blow past the deadlines to report their stock trades are supposed to pay a late fee of $200 the first time they’re late. Increasingly higher fines follow if they continue to be late — potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars in extreme cases. But Insider’s reporting has found that rules are rarely enforced, especially in the House.
It’s not clear whether Suozzi ever paid a late penalty.
It’s also not clear where the ethics complaint stands. The Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent investigative agency, looks into complaints it receives but its attorneys will typically only make investigations public if they determine they have reason to believe wrongdoing occurred.
Even then, it’s the House Committee on Ethics — made up of House members — that decides whether to pursue the Office of Congressional Ethics’ findings. These elected officials have the power to reprimand lawmakers, discipline staffers, or do nothing at all.
Lawmakers’ interest in pursuing stock trading reforms came Insider’s “Conflicted Congress” project found that dozens of lawmakers and at least 182 senior congressional staffers had failed to comply with the reporting requirements of the STOCK Act.
It also found numerous examples of conflicts of interest, including that four members of Congress or their spouses have either currently or recently invested money in Russian companies at a time when Russia has invaded Ukraine.