In light of the COVID-19 economic crash, many elected officials have displayed unbridled courage, honesty, and optimism. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for San Diego-based Rep. Susan Davis, who recently disclosed the sale of tens of thousands of dollars worth of cruise ship and airline stocks being made two weeks after a congressional briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak.
Davis claims that the stocks were sold by her husband, and that she had nothing to do with the transactions. However, given the timing of the sale, some healthy skepticism is in order.
The problem? This goes directly against the federal “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act” signed into law by former President Barack Obama. The act forbids public officials from using non-public knowledge in their stock trades.
Allowing elected officials to buy and sell stocks is problematic when they’re able to obtain information that is not available to private citizens. She’s not the only San Diego-based elected official to come under fire for selling stocks prior to the COVID-19 induced market drop. Rep. Scott Peters has also received a lot of heat for engaging in the same type of behavior as Davis.
Perhaps it is the case that neither Davis nor Peters had any knowledge or involvement in the stock sales and purchases. But their constituents deserve an impartial investigation that gets to the bottom of the matter.
In a time where government transparency is of the utmost importance, it’s sad to see elected officials potentially betraying their oath of office and taking advantage of their position for their personal gain.