FIRST ON FOX: Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., reported stock sales worth up to $5.5 million earlier this month, months after the transactions were executed and long after such sales are required to be reported under federal law.

On June 14, DelBene — who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, making her one of the highest-ranking House Democrats — filed a periodic transaction report showing her husband sold Microsoft stock worth between $1.25 million and $5.5 million in two transactions on Aug. 30, 2022, and March 1, respectively. 

Under the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012, members of Congress are legally required to report securities transactions over $1,000 no later than 45 days after they or their spouse execute said transaction. DelBene waited to report the Microsoft stock sales 288 days and 105 days after they took place, her filing showed.

“Members of Congress from both parties are missing these deadlines and not disclosing transactions when they’re supposed to according to the law, which in and of itself, from a first principle standpoint, is a really bad thing because you have lawmakers who are not following the law that they made,” Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, the government affairs manager at the Project on Government Oversight, told Fox News Digital.

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Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., the chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, speaks during a news conference on Aug. 10, 2022. (REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)

“Oftentimes, if you aggregate members of Congress’ trades and transactions, they tend to over-perform the rest of us and over-perform the market,” Hedtler-Gaudette added. “There is definitely the appearance of impropriety and the appearance of potential corruption there that is corrosive to public trust in Congress and individual members of Congress. So, it’s a big problem.”

He added that recent examples of members of Congress violating the STOCK Act strengthen arguments in favor of a blanket prohibition on politicians trading stocks. A recent Insider investigation identified 78 members of Congress who recently violated the legislation. The report found the lawmakers have offered varying excuses and are generally hit with a $200 fine as punishment.

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A spokesperson for DelBene explained that the two Microsoft stock sales reported earlier this month were part of a forward contract her husband Kurt DelBene created after he was confirmed for a senior role at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Kurt DelBene had previously served as a senior executive at Microsoft, a position he resigned from in September 2021, two months before President Biden nominated Rep. DelBene for the administration position.

“In March 2022, the DelBenes disclosed a forward contract, which put in place a self-executing stock sale schedule at a set price related to compensation from Mr. DelBene’s previous employment,” the spokesperson told Fox News Digital in a statement. “This forward contract was drafted by ethics experts and approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

“The entirety of the contract was disclosed over a year ago and it has not been altered since,” the statement continued. “The DelBenes cannot adjust or initiate any actions related to the forward contract. These transactions fall under the original forward contract but are being reported separately in the interest of transparency after consulting with the House Ethics Committee and the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Suzan DelBene, Hakeem Jeffries, DCCC

Rep. Suzan DelBene is a cosponsor of the Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust in Congress Act, which would ban members of Congress from trading individual stocks. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

DelBene’s periodic transaction report submitted on March 9, 2022, stated that the forward contract, worth up to $25 million, had been created a month prior and that Microsoft stock sales would occur every six months through 2024.

Still, according to the House Ethics Committee instruction manual, members of Congress are required to report “each purchase, sale, or exchange involving stocks, bonds, commodities futures, or other securities” owned wholly or in part by them, their spouse or their dependent child when the amount of the transaction exceeds $1,000.

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“The member missed the deadline for paying the stock transaction. That part is clear,” Kedric Payne, the vice president and general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, told Fox News Digital.

“The constant violations of the law show that the disclosure requirement is not enough,” Payne continued. “The members cannot comply with the filing deadline and sometimes you still have the appearance of conflicts of interest. Therefore, there needs to be restricted where members are not allowed to own individual stocks.”

Tom Rust, the House Committee on Ethics’ staff director and chief counsel, declined to comment.

In February, meanwhile, DelBene signed onto legislation — the Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust (TRUST) in Congress Act — that would ban members of Congress and their spouses from trading individual stocks. Reps. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., and Chip Roy, R-Texas, reintroduced the bill in January.

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