Rep. Blake Moore violated federal law by failing to report up to $1.1 million in stock trades. For that he was fined just $200 by the House Ethics Committee.
Dave Levinthal, Deputy Washington Editor for Insider.com, who broke the Moore story, says these laws are in place for a reason.
“It was put in place to defend against potential conflicts of interest or just give the public the ability to see what members of Congress are doing in terms of their personal stock trades at a time when they’re being lobbied by the very companies they themselves may invest in,” Leventhal said.
“These companies many times will have tens of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars at stake with the decisions being made by the government, including contracts the government hands out to them. There’s a tangled web of financial interests here, and this was put in place to shine sunlight and provide transparency,” Levinthal added.
He also says the small fine Moore was required to pay shows how poorly Congress does when it comes to regulating themselves.
“It’s like having two football teams take the field and there’s no referee. The two teams just sort of decide how they’re going to play the game. Oftentimes you’ll have situations where the penalties are quite low because nobody really wants to put themselves into a situation that could be precarious,” Leventhal said.
Dave Levinthal on Twitter: @DaveLevinthal