DES MOINES, Iowa – Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann, during a virtual press conference on Thursday, said that U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne’s failure to disclose stock trades was “deliberate and illegal.”
The Iowa Torch reported earlier that the Campaign Legal Center filed an ethics complaint against the Democratic congresswoman from West Des Moines 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.
The STOCK (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) Act was passed in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion and signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2012. The law prohibits the use of non-public information for private profit, including insider trading by members of Congress and other government employees.
Violations can carry a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment of five years.
Axne’s office said that any errors on the disclosure forms were unintentional. They added that she does not personally manage or execute transactions for her personal retirement account or accounts she shares with her husband or has through her small business.
“Cindy Axne’s actions were deliberate and illegal, and she shouldn’t be allowed to pay a petty fine and walk away. We’ve never had this type of criminal activity from an elected official in Iowa before and we must take this very seriously,” Kaufmann said during the press call.
He said attempts to say that the failure to disclose those trades was just an oversight insult Iowans’ intelligence.
“She broke federal law. This is serious, this is not an oversight. This is purposeful, this is not an honest mistake,” Kaufmann said.
The Campaign Legal Center’s complaint noted that Axne purchased and sold more than 40 assets with a total value ranging from approximately $43,043 to $645,000 without disclosing the transactions, which violates the STOCKS Act and House rules.
The letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics stated that Axne’s failure to disclose stock trades, including Wells Fargo, Mastercard, and Visa while serving on the House Financial Services Committee, was “unlikely to be merely an oversight.”
“Cindy Axne’s actions are exactly what people hate about the swamp. Have any of you forgotten that you traded a half-million dollars,” said Kaufmann. “It’s my hope that the committee deal with Cindy Axne swiftly and justly, and not with just a slap on the wrist, to stop this sort of political corruption once and for all.”
Watch the full press conference above.