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Money & Influence 09.13.2023

Associated Press: Santos misses extended deadline to file financial disclosure, blames fear of a ‘rushed job’

Stephen Spaulding, the vice president of policy at Common Cause, a watchdog group, described Santos’ reasoning as “nonsensical,” noting there was no reason that his federal tax obligations should prevent him from filing the necessary disclosure. “He is thumbing his nose at transparency requirements, his constituents and the public,” Spaulding said. “All the more reason to strengthen these penalties.” While it is not uncommon for representatives to file their disclosures late, few of them blow past the extended deadlines, according to Spaulding. “Everyone else seems to know how to comply with this,” he said. “It’s not onerous.”

Raw Story: Sold! Wealthy N.Y. congressman dumps up to $37.1 million in stocks and bonds amid pressure to divest

“When elected officials are trading stocks at a time when they’re supposed to be overseeing companies, we need to make sure that the public has the faith and confidence that elected officials are doing the bidding of the public interest and not trying to line their pockets and do what’s in their private interest,” Aaron Scherb, senior director of legislative affairs for Common Cause, a nonpartisan government reform organization, said at the time.

Raw Story: ‘Aren’t we a little more grown up than that?’: Ex-lawmaker rips Congress for ‘dog ate my homework’ excuses

To date, those consequences are “essentially a slap on the wrist,” Aaron Scherb, senior director of legislative affairs at nonprofit government watchdog Common Cause, told Raw Story earlier this month.

McClatchy: Comer places FBI Director in contempt crosshairs over Biden informant document

“The former President’s own Attorney General William Barr already declined to pursue this investigation several years ago,” said Aaron Scherb, the senior director of legislative affairs at Common Cause. “FBI Director Christopher Wray is a lifelong Republican and member of the Federalist Society. This committee vote to hold him in contempt is yet another example of congressional Republicans trying to weaponize the federal government when they disagree with the outcome.”

CBS: Rep. George Santos pleads not guilty to 13 federal charges including using campaign donations for personal expenses, including designer clothes and cash

"Mr. Santos' breathtaking scope of lies has left his constituents -- and all New Yorkers -- gasping for air and calling for accountability. Now that the Eastern District of New York has appropriately indicted him, Mr. Santos should resign. It's been clear for a long time that the voters have been defrauded, and Mr. Santos' seat in Congress is tantamount to an ill gotten gain: he should not be allowed to profit from the fruits of his deception. Voters deserve a representative who doesn't lie and deceive their way into power, and unfortunately they have waited too long for Mr. Santos to do the right thing and resign," Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY said.

RawStory+: As First Republic Bank faltered, five members of Congress dumped their personal stock investments

While there’s no evidence that the lawmakers used information they obtained through their public service to inform their First Republic stock trades, such stock sales “can erode the public’s faith and confidence in Congress,” said Aaron Scherb, senior director of legislative affairs for Common Cause, a nonpartisan government watchdog organization. “The perception of corruption can be just as damaging as actual corruption in many cases,” said Scherb, noting that a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers have introduced bills that would ban members of Congress and their immediate family members from trading individual stocks at all.

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