Watchdog Releases Top Ethics Violators in Government of 2021 by Spencer Brown for Town Hall
There are many ways individuals running the U.S. government can run afoul of laws and guidelines intended to curb the abuse of power. From personal financial disclosures to Hatch Act violations to a misuse of government resources or using taxpayer funds for political purposes, there are a lot of rules that our elected and appointed leaders tend to flaunt for personal gain. The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a nonpartisan ethics watchdog, released its list of 2021’s “Top Ethics Violators” within American government who apparently decided the rules didn’t apply to them.
According to FACT’s Executive Director Kendra Arnold, “2021 saw numerous government officials abusing their office for financial and political gain in a range of ethics cases. In a disturbing trend this year, we saw many members of Congress fail to disclose their stock transactions as federal law requires, which can conceal both conflicts of interest and wrongfully profiting from non-public information,” Arnold added.
Topping FACT’s list for 2021 is Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ). As FACT explains, it filed two complaints against Malinowski in 2021: One for failing to disclose “up to 90 stock trades valued between $671,000 and $2.6 million in 2020,” and a second for continuing to trade stocks without filing proper disclosures after “it was made public that he had failed to comply with the law.”
As FACT explains, “the Office of Congressional Ethics investigated, and found that despite having monthly statements containing the information needed to file his disclosure report and reminders from his staff, Malinowski failed to report transactions made between January 2019 and January 2021. Then after these failures became public and the OCE began its investigation, Malinowski again filed late reports. Moreover, even in the corrective filings Malinowski made and his 2019 financial disclosure report, the OCE found other additional ‘errors and omissions.'” Investigations into Malinowski’s actions by the Office of Congressional Ethics and House Ethics Committee are ongoing.