GOP Rep. Chris Jacobs just violated a federal conflict of interest stock-trading law for the second time

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  • Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs just violated a federal conflict-of-interest and transparency law.
  • Members of Congress are required to disclose stock trades made by themselves or their spouses within 45 days.
  • Jacobs was late to disclose 43 investments he made in July 2022.

Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs of New York violated a federal conflict-of-interest law by failing to properly disclose stock and government security transactions in time, an Insider review of his most recent financial disclosure found.

Jacobs violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, which requires members of Congress to file disclosures within 45 days of them, their spouse, or dependent child making a stock transaction or financial trade.

Jacobs reported that he made 43 separate trades in July 2022, some in the form of stocks, like his investment in Tesla, and some in government securities. In total, the investments were worth anywhere between $456,043 and $1.415 million — lawmakers are not required to provide the specific value of their trades, and instead, report them in broad ranges.

Jacobs’ press secretary did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

This is not the first time that Jacobs has violated the STOCK Act. Forbes reporter Zach Everson reported in September 2021 that Jacobs was late to disclose more than 10 securities worth more than $356,000. Following the report and a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics, the House Committee on Ethics investigated Jacobs and two other members of Congress who violated the act.

The committee ultimately unanimously ruled that there “was not clear evidence” Jacobs committed “knowing or willful” violations of the STOCK Act, and that he and the other congressmen “were generally unclear on the requirements” for disclosing their investments.

A ban on congressional stock trading?

As Jacobs continues to invest in government securities and the stock market, his colleagues in the House and Senate have been debating for months whether members of Congress, their spouses, and dependent children should even be allowed to trade individual stocks in the first place.

In early September, a group of 8 Democratic and 1 Republican members of the House sent a letter to House leadership to “respectfully urge” leadership and the Committee on House Administration to bring a congressional stock trading bill to the floor for a vote before the end of September.

But despite the push from lawmakers, it’s unclear if and when leadership will bring a proposal to the floor. Both the House and Senate are now back in session and have just over a month and a half to debate and vote on any related legislation before the elections in early November.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was once against the idea of a congressional stock trading ban, but acquiesced after hearing calls to ban the practice from representatives from both sides of the aisle. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in early 2022 that he’d consider a congressional stock trading ban if Republicans take control of the House in November. 

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