The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday that it has extended a probe into the finances of Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democratic candidate for governor.
A complaint was filed with the U.S. Office of Congressional Ethics last August claiming Suozzi failed for years to timely report stock transactions as required under the Stock Act and House rules.
“The Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ethics have jointly decided to extend the matter regarding Representative Thomas Suozzi, which was transmitted to the Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics on February 28, 2022,” the statement said.
“The Committee notes that the mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.
The statement concludes, “The Committee will announce its course of action in this matter on or before Friday, July 29, 2022.”
The Democratic primary takes place June 28.
News of the probe comes as Suozzi has hammered Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Democratic front-runner in the primary, over the corruption indictment of her Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin.
Suozzi has also called for a probe into whether Hochul misused state aircraft to promote her campaign to keep the executive’s seat.
The Campaign Legal Center, a group that advocates for strict campaign finance laws, filed the complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics.
Campaign Legal Center (“CLC”) respectfully requests that the Office of Congressional Ethics (“OCE”) investigate Rep. Thomas Suozzi for a possible violation of the STOCK Act and House rules. From 2017 to 2020, Rep. Suozzi made approximately 300 stock trades with a total value ranging from approximately $ 3.2 million to $ 11 million, ”the complaint said.
“For four years, Rep. Suozzi traded stocks frequently, but did not file any [period transaction reports] PTRs as required. ”
The complaint noted that Suozzi did include the trades in his annual financial disclosure statements, but not the periodic reports.
The Business Insider last month reported that Suozzi failed to properly report 31 stock trades valued at $ 885,000.
The Post last December reported that Suozzi was among a number of legislators who flouted the 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act.
The STOCK Act, which requires disclosure of all equity trades by members of Congress within 45 days, is intended as a check against members engaging in insider trading, or buying and selling stocks based on information that is not available to the public.
“The harm is that this trend could quickly defeat one of the purposes of the STOCK Act, which is real time disclosure of potential conflicts of interest. If members are not held accountable for failing to disclose stock trades, many may simply wait until their annual financial disclosures to reveal stock trades and pay nominal late fees, thereby circumventing the STOCK Act, ”the CLC said in the complaint.
“As members of Congress craft laws that directly impact the lives of all Americans, the public must be able to trust that representatives are acting in the public’s interest, and not in their own financial interest.”
Suozzi’s congressional office sought to downplay the probe.
“The Congressman’s investments are managed through independent advisors with full discretion over all transactions. The Congressman does not control or direct these transactions, ”a Suozzi spokesman said.
“The Congressman takes his disclosure obligations seriously. Every annual financial disclosure was filed and all periodic transaction reports will be filed on a going forward basis. The Congressman would support legislation to ban lawmakers from trading stocks. ”