DES MOINES, Iowa – The Campaign Legal Center formally requested that the Office of Congressional Ethics investigate U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, for failing to disclose stock trades on her personal financial disclosure that, they state, is a possible violation of the STOCK Act and House ethics rules.
“In 2019 and 2020, Rep. Axne appears to have purchased and sold more than 40 assets with a total value ranging from approximately $43,043 to $645,000 without disclosing the transaction. While Rep. Axne disclosed the ownership of these assets on her annual financial disclosures, she did not file any corresponding periodic transaction reports (‘PTRs’). A preliminary OCE investigation is required to determine whether the differences in Rep. Axne’s 2019 and 2020 reports are the result of reportable transactions. If so, Rep. Axne would have been required to file PTRs pursuant to the STOCK Act and House rules,” Kedric L. Payne, general counsel and senior director of ethics at Campaign Legal Center, wrote in the letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics.
The Campaign Legal Center is an advocacy group founded in 2002 at the University of Utah that supports strict enforcement of campaign finance laws. The organization’s attorneys track and participate in various cases around the country involving campaign finance law at the federal, state, and local levels. It started as a bipartisan organization but has since aligned with left-of-center interests, including opposing voter ID laws.
A spokesperson with Axne’s office told Dave Price with WHO-TV 13 that the congresswoman does not personally manage or execute transactions related to her personal retirement account or the accounts she shares with her husband or has through her small business.
“In accordance with her legal requirements, she has submitted all required disclosures of her assets through her first three years in Congress. If there are errors with those disclosures they are unintentional and the Congresswoman will take immediate and all necessary steps to ensure her disclosures are accurate and in accordance with the law,” her office said to Price.
The Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said Axne does not have a reasonable excuse for not disclosing the trade.
“Cindy Axne was a member of the Financial Services Committee when she tried to illegally hide these stock trades. No matter what her pathetic excuse is, it is clear: Axne hid hundreds of thousands of dollars from public scrutiny. While Iowans are trying to make every dollar count, Axne is getting richer behind their backs,” he said in a released statement.
Axne’s potential Republican challengers also responded to the ethics complaint.
“As a certified, accredited financial professional, I take the laws and regulations surrounding financial disclosures very seriously. I worked very hard to ensure my knowledge and certification was kept up to date and remained in compliance with current state and federal law. This was the expectation and requirement of my employer. Simply put, if I failed to meet the legal requirements of my job, it was the right of my employer to terminate my employment,” Nicole Hasso said in a released statement. “I am here to terminate her employment.”
State Senator Zach Nunn, R-Bondurant, tweeted, “Iowans deserve better.”
The Campaign Legal Center also made similar complaints against U.S. Reps. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, Lance Gooden, R-Texas, Bobby Scott, D-Va., Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y., and Roger Williams, R-Texas, and Del. Michael San Nicolas, D-Guam.
“The lack of accountability we’ve seen in regard to STOCK Act compliance is basically giving elected officials the green light to buy and sell stocks based on information gained from committee meetings without any transparency for their voters,” Payne said in a released statement. “Until we see meaningful enforcement paired with real transparency, I see no end to this troubling trend.”
Read the Campaign Legal Center letter below:Axne_OCE Complaint_Final_