(WASHINGTON)—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) must withdraw the nomination of Representative Donna Shalala (D-FL) to serve on the Congressional Oversight Commission, a panel tasked with overseeing federal spending related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shalala failed to disclose stock sales she made in 2019 following her 2018 election to Congress, the Miami Heraldreported Tuesday. The representative said she sold the stocks to eliminate potential conflicts of interest, but by failing to disclose these sales, she violated the STOCK Act, a law meant to combat insider trading.
Shalala’s office characterized her failure to report the stock sales as a misunderstanding of the law, not a deliberate attempt to circumvent reporting requirements. However, this commission will be tasked with overseeing $500 billion in federal government spending and policing intricate reporting requirements laid out in the coronavirus relief bill, and so should be staffed with members who have experience following and policing spending transparency laws.
“It’s unacceptable for a member who is apparently unfamiliar with the basic reporting requirements in the STOCK Act to serve on a congressional committee tasked with overseeing the federal government’s spending related to the current coronavirus crisis. We need members of the Congressional Oversight Commission who are already focused on disclosure of financial transactions, not people for whom it’s an afterthought,” said Danielle Brian, the executive director of POGO. “American taxpayers are relying on Congress to make sure that federal dollars go to those who truly need it, and they need experienced members to lead that effort.”
Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when the government fails to serve the public or silences those who report wrongdoing.
We champion reforms to achieve a more effective, ethical, and accountable federal government that safeguards constitutional principles.