Ethics Investigators in Congress Increasingly Run Into Walls

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In 2020, the Senate Ethics Committee received 144 complaints of violations and dismissed them all.

Kedric Payne, the senior director for ethics at the Campaign Legal Center and a former deputy chief counsel for the Office of Congressional Ethics, said it was becoming all too common for lawmakers to flout the ethical rules Congress has imposed. The Campaign Legal Center has tracked dozens of violations of the STOCK Act — which requires members to report stock trades within 45 days of the transaction, but is commonly ignored.

Business Insider reported this month that 52 members of Congress violated the act this year. Penalties are often minimal, beginning at just a $200 fine, and lawmakers are allowed a 30-day grace period to comply after missing the deadline.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, recently dismissed the idea that members should be prohibited from trading stocks.

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