A conservative watchdog group has filed an ethics complaint against Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin after he failed to properly disclose stock shares that his wife — who was nominated by President Joe Biden to regulate banking at the Federal Reserve — received for advising a Colorado-based financial technology trust company.
The American Accountability Foundation on Monday said in a complaint filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics that the Maryland lawmaker had failed to disclose his wife Sarah Bloom Raskin's ownership of a massive amount of stock and did not report the million-dollar sale of those stocks in the time period required by law.
The complaint was first reported by Fox Business. It cited a Business Insider report that revealed that Jamie Raskin disclosed in August 2021 that his wife Sarah Bloom Raskin sold 195,936 shares of Reserve Trust for $1.5 million, according to his federal financial documents. But Raskin reported the stock sale, which happened on Dec. 12, 2020, eight months after the fact.
According to AAF, Raskin violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge, or STOCK Act, by failing to report his wife's financial gain in time. The law was passed in 2012 and is intended to increase transparency on Capitol Hill by making it illegal for members of Congress or their families to profit by trading stocks with insider knowledge. Under the law, Sarah Bloom Raskin's stock payout should have been reported to Congress within 45 days of the transaction.
"Sarah and Jamie Raskin are career politicians who have used the system to enrich themselves, and it is time that someone holds them accountable," AAF founder Tom Jones said in a statement. "If House rules are going to mean anything, the House Ethics Committee needs to open an investigation and sanction Jamie Raskin for hiding this shady stock deal from the public."
Raskin, a top House Democrat, is best known for leading the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. His wife Sarah is Biden's nominee to be vice chairwoman of supervision at the Federal Reserve, the most powerful banking regulator in the government. She previously held positions at the U.S. Treasury and the Fed during the Obama administration.
In a statement to Business Insider, Raskin acknowledged that he turned in his financial disclosure late, explaining that the death of his 25-year-old son Thomas on Dec. 31, 2020, happened just after the stock sale.
"We lost our son during the reporting period, and I filed the report late," the lawmaker said.
The AAF complaint recognized the "tragic loss" of the Raskin's son, writing that "any reasonable person would agree that they should be afforded some latitude in meeting filing requirements during that time." However, the complaint notes that Raskin "quickly returned to his official duties" and led the impeachment trial against Trump in January.
"If Representative Raskin was able to perform these official duties during this time, it is reasonable to expect that he should have been able to comply with the Periodic Transaction Report requirements during these times and not frustrate the legitimate ends of Congressional oversight by waiting nine months to disclose the sale," the complaint said.
The possible ethics violation is sure to give Republicans ammunition to oppose Sarah Bloom Raskin's nomination to the Fed. GOP lawmakers have already questioned her controversial positions on climate change, which include calling for the Fed to punish banks and financial institutions that have business agreements with fossil-fuel energy companies.
Bloom Raskin has also faced questions about her time with Reserve Trust, joining the company in May 2017 and leaving in August 2019. While she served on Reserve Trust's board, the company received access to the Fed's payment system and was the only non-bank state-chartered trust to do so. The company had previously applied for a master account and was denied in June 2017.
Republicans have questioned whether Bloom Raskin, who served as a Fed governor from 2010 to 2014, persuaded the Fed to give Reserve Trust a master account and then received 200,000 shares of company stock as compensation.
Sarah Bloom Raskin has denied any wrongdoing.