Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) stopped trading stocks on May 26 and is awaiting approval of a plan to put his assets in a blind trust by the House Ethics Committee.
“The account will remain frozen while we are awaiting a vote by the Ethics Committee,” his chief of staff, Colston Reid, told the New Jersey Globe.
The Democratic congressman directed his brokerage firm, Gagnon Securities, to make no further trades on his behalf until the blind trust is approved.
The opprobrium of late disclosures of stock trades – over 100 of them — has triggered complaints filed against him by the ethics panel.
As a result, Malinowski has agreed to create a blind trust to forestall any appearance of problems with his personal finances. But that must be approved by a vote of the bi-partisan Ethics Committee and that has not yet happened. If they fail to act, approval of the blind trust will be automatic.
A call to the panel at 10:44 AM on July 6 has not received a response.
The stock trades – which included a huge number of short sales – is expected to be an issue in Malinowski’s bid for a third term next year.
Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield) will announce on July 14 that he will seek the Republican nomination to take on Malinowski in New Jersey’s 7th district.
Kean came within 1% of unseating Malinowski in 2020 in a district that gave Joe Biden a 12-point win over Donald Trump.
Despite the controversies over his personal finances, Malinowski enjoyed a monster 2nd quarter, raising over $815,000. He now has more than $1.4 million in his campaign warchest for a possible rematch with Kean.
Like other House members, Malinowski faces some uncertainties as New Jersey begins the process of redrawing congressional districts after the 2020 census.
The current 7th district, which includes parts of Union, Somerset, Essex, Warren and all of Hunterdon, was drawn to elect a Republican congressman.
In 2012, the 7th had 29,997 more Republicans than Democrats. Now the district has 11,132 more Democrats than Republicans.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust filed a second complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics on Tuesday concerning Malinowski’s failure to timely disclose nine additional stock trades worth at least $186,000 in line with deadlines set under the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act.
That law requires members report stock transactions “within 30 days of notice of the transaction, but in no case later than 45 days after the transaction.”
The latest trades were made in April, and Malinowski was notified of them at the end of that month. They weren’t disclosed until June 12.
The Ethics Committee has reviewed Malinowski’s prior Periodic Transaction Reports and advised him that he is within committee guidelines and will face no penalties, Reid said.
Malinowski’s decision to stop trading still met with criticism from the National Republican Congressional Committee.
“It’s bad enough that Tom Malinowski profited off of the pandemic and hid it from his constituents, but he should have stopped trading the second he got caught,” said Samantha Bullock, an NRCC spokesperson. “Instead, he continued to trade and break the law for months because he’s a shady, lying politician who can’t be trusted.”
This story was updated at 11:04 AM on July 8, 2021.