The ethics panel is siding with Texas Republican Congressman Pat Fallon in late financial filings

WASHINGTON – The House Ethics Committee has voted unanimously to dismiss referrals against Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Sherman, and two other House members for failing to timely report personal financial transactions.

The Office of Congressional Ethics released a report earlier this year documenting a pattern of late filing by Fallon of legally required periodic transaction reports. The report called for the committee to investigate further and issued subpoenas to compel Fallon’s full cooperation.

But the committee instead sided with Fallon’s lawyer, who made the late filings as a first-year House member who tripped over unfamiliar rules that have tripped up many of his colleagues.

“The committee concluded that there was no clear evidence that errors and omissions in members’ PTRs were knowing or intentional and that members were generally unclear about the requirements related to PTR submissions,” according to a press release that the committee issued Friday. .

The committee said it had worked with Fallon and the other members.

“All have made diligent efforts to take appropriate corrective action and ensure continued compliance with applicable financial disclosure requirements,” according to the statement.

Congress adopted new requirements as part of what is commonly known as the STOCK Act, requiring members to file reports no later than 30 days after becoming aware of a transaction of more than $1,000, and in any event within of the 45 days.

The OCE report found that Fallon failed to file timely reports on 122 transactions worth between $9 million and $21 million.

Most of them were shortly after he took office in early 2021, but his late filings continued for months after he was notified of his obligations under the law, the report said.

News accounts have put the focus on non-compliance by members, while watchdog groups have called for stricter regulations, or even an outright ban, on individual stock trading by lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

In its press release, the committee acknowledged these issues and indicated that it plans to address them in the future.

“The Committee takes legal financial disclosure requirements and their oversight very seriously,” the statement said. “It is working to address several programmatic issues raised by these referrals and will address them publicly at a later date.”

Fallon said in a statement that he was grateful for the committee’s hard work and its bipartisan decision. It also said it has hired two independent compliance experts to ensure its reports are timely and accurate.

“We are very pleased that the Ethics Committee unanimously rejected this frivolous referral,” Fallon said. “In short, it was an administrative error. Nothing more.”

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About the Author: Chaz Cutler

My name is Chasity. I love to follow the stock market and financial news!