Democrat Leader Caught Hiding Massive Stock Holdings Payout

A Maryland Democrat, Rep. Jamie Raskin failed to disclose stock shares his wife received for advising a Colorado-based financial technology trust company, in violation of federal conflict-of-interest law.

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Media analysis of federal records indicates that the congressman disclosed the sale of Reserve Trust stock eight months after Sarah Bloom Raskin sold it for $1.5 million late in 2020.

The Raskins fell foul of the provisions of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act that encourage transparency and protect against financial conflicts at a time when they have received much national attention.

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The prominent congressman who led the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump explains he was late in filing his disclosure about the sale because of the death of his son. President Joe Biden nominated Sarah Bloom Raskin to fill the most powerful banking position in the country, and a key Senate panel heard her arguments on Thursday.

In the event of her confirmation as vice chairwoman of supervision at the Federal Reserve, Sarah Bloom Raskin would have held top-level jobs at both the US Treasury and Fed during the Obama administration.

Nevertheless, her confirmation prospects remain uncertain, given that she has called for tougher financial regulations aimed at combatting the climate crisis and supports tougher oversight of big banks.

The omission from congressional reports of the shares she held in Reserve Trust is likely to hand another round of ammunition to Republicans, who want to stall Biden’s nominees. Conservative watchdogs have suggested that she used her past Fed connections to benefit the fintech trust; Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a Republican from Wyoming, brought the issue up in Thursday’s hearing.

The Federal Reserve granted Reserve Trust unusual access to its master account in 2018, while Sarah Bloom Raskin sat on its advisory board – a link that allows Reserve Trust to move money for customers without relying on banks.

The date Sarah Bloom Raskin first purchased Reserve Trust shares is not known. In response, Jamie Raskin’s office would not release information, and the White House only acknowledged that Reserve Trust gave her the shares as compensation.

Based on information Sarah Bloom Raskin provided to the Banking Committee, a Republican familiar with the matter who didn’t want to be identified said she acquired the stocks when she joined the board in 2017.

Members of Congress are required to declare assets worth more than $1,000 every year as a matter of ethics. In his annual reports for the years his wife had served on the Reserve Trust Board, Jamie Raskin failed to report the Reserve Trust holdings to the Clerk of the House.

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Since such assets belong to a member of Congress or their spouse, and they must be reported annually under the STOCK Act, Jamie Raskin should have reported them annually until they are liquidated in 2020. He only reported this asset on his 2020 report, which was submitted months after his wife sold the stock.

In response to an email question about why her husband didn’t disclose her holdings, Sarah Bloom Raskin did not reply.

Based on a December report, “Conflicted Congress”, 54 members of Congress and at least 182 of the best-paid Capitol Hill staff violated the STOCK Act by making tardy or incomplete stock trades in 2020 and 2021.

Reporters discovered that the consequences are generally minimal, inconsistent, and not publicly available. In the time since, lawmakers across the political spectrum have introduced several measures that would ban or otherwise limit their colleagues – and sometimes even spouses – from buying and selling individual stocks.

Jamie Raskin admitted he was nearly seven months late in disclosing that his wife sold almost $1.5 million worth of Reserve Trust shares on December 18, 2020. According to the STOCK Act, stock purchases and sales exceeding $1,000 must be reported within 30 to 45 days of the transaction, depending on when the member learned of the purchase or sale.

Raskin explained that the task came up a bit late since the liquidation took place right before their son, Thomas Raskin’s death on December 31, 2020.

“We lost our son during the reporting period, and I filed the report late,” said Jamie Raskin to reporters.

Republicans are already questioning Sarah Bloom Raskin’s work for Reserve Trust.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who is on the Banking Committee where she’s set to answer questions, commented on it on Twitter on Tuesday.

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“I wonder if @SenWarren’s legislation would apply to Fed nominee @SBloomRaskin’s repeated use of the “revolving door.” Or will Democrats turn a blind eye to her return to ‘Wall Street’s shadow regulator’ Promontory or obscure fintech Reserve Trust?”

Furthermore, he called out the nominee as being part of Washington’s “revolving door,” a practice in which high-level executives move between roles within the public sphere and the more lucrative private sector.

Sarah Bloom Raskin’s past work, connections, and experience with the Federal Reserve do not indicate what role she played in helping secure the fintech trust’s master account. A reporter asked about the issue but did not receive a response from the White House or Reserve Trust.