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Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes). Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe.

Despite scrutiny, Malinowski missed June stock trade disclosure deadline

Congressman who faces criticism on stock deals tempts fate by more late filings

By David Wildstein, June 23 2021 12:01 am

Despite months of criticism for failing to disclose stock trades – and a promise to put his personal finances into a blind trust – Rep. Tom Malinowski continues to push the envelope on reporting stock transactions.

Records show that Malinowski took more than the legally required time to report nine stock transactions worth up at least $186,000 this month and in some cases nearly two months after the transaction.

The nine stock transactions occurred in April and Malinowski was notified of them at the end of that month.

Reporting requirements under Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act requires Members of Congress to report transactions “within 30 days of notice of the transaction, but in no case later than 45 days after the transaction.”

The aggressive trades come despite a House Ethics Committee investigation into allegations that he never disclosed massive stock deals while he was in a close re-election campaign last year.

Malinowski’s stock trades –and when he disclosed them – has become a national news story and could play a decisive role in whether his new congressional district is winnable, or how a Republican challenge in a competitive 2022 race plays out.

The scrutiny Malinowski has been facing adds some questions about why he’s tempting fight by missing any deadlines at all.

“It’s like a thousand cuts but in slow motion,” said Micah Rasmussen, the director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University.  “It underscores that the most important thing a public official need to do is just make the story go away, because you only get the benefit of the doubt for so long before it goes away.”

Now, Rasmussen said, Malinowski is creating his own political liabilities.

“At this point, it is still his actions that are perpetuating his problems, not his opponent,” he said.  “These are all unforced errors.”

The congressman’s chief of staff, Colston Reid, said that the Clerk of the House accepted Malinowski’s June filing “without issue.”

Last week, Malinowski signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation that would require Members of Congress to place certain assets in blind trusts.  The bill was introduced five months ago.

But Malinowski has still not closed the deal on his own blind trust.

“He’s in the end phases of finalizing a blind trust,” said Reid.  “It is done and with the Ethics Committee.”

Malinowski has said that he plays no role in trading of stocks and that he permits his broker, Gagnon Securities, to make decisions on his behalf.

Six of the nine stock trades involved short sales or short covers.  The value of his deals could be as much as $540,000.

Malinowski’s biggest trade came on April 20 when he sold between $100,000 and $250,000 of his shares in General Finance Corporation.  The sale occurred on April 21, five days before United Rentals tendered an offer to purchase the company.

The two-term Central Jersey Democrat bought between $15,000 and $50,000 worth of stock in Peloton, the stationary bicycle manufacturer, on April 21.  That was four days after the US. Consumer Public Safety Commission announced safety concerns with one of their treadmills.

“Whatever profits he made from these trades, it’s costing him far more in the long run,” said Rasmussen.  “Anyone with a shred of crisis management instinct would have demanded a statement of every transaction as of the date of the last bad story, disclosed every one of those, and then not engaged in any further trades.”

This story was updated at 8:48 AM and 10:10 AM. 

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