Watchdog group: Axne failed to disclose over 40 stock trades

By: - September 23, 2021 6:07 pm

Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne speaks during a debate on KCCI-TV in Des Moines. (Screen shot from debate livestream)

U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne did not properly disclose over 40 stock trades between 2019 and 2020, according to a report from a watchdog organization.

The Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit ethics group, filed complaints Wednesday against seven House lawmakers, including Axne. The report says that Axne purchased and sold more than 40 assets over the last two years without filing periodic transaction reports, thereby violating the STOCK Act. The total of her purchases has a value ranging from $43,000 to $645,000.

A spokesperson for Axne said any lapses in transaction reports were “unintentional.”

“If there are errors with those disclosures, they are unintentional and the Congresswoman will take immediate and all necessary steps to ensure her disclosures are accurate and in accordance with the law,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “While Congresswoman Axne completes her own financial disclosures, she does not personally manage or execute transactions related to her retirement account or the ones she has with her husband or her small business.“

The Campaign Legal Center report said Axne attended mandatory ethics trainings on financial disclosures, making her lapse “unlikely to be merely an oversight.” Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann held a press conference Thursday emphasizing the idea that Axne should have known it was illegal not to disclose the transactions.

“Have any of you forgotten that you traded a half a million dollars?” Kaufmann said, calling it “an insult to our intelligence” that Axne would say it was an oversight.

In a press conference soon after, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn retorted that Axne was “taking this matter seriously.”

“Since becoming a member of Congress, her assets have always been public record, and any notion that she’s hiding something is just ridiculous,” Wilburn said.

The Campaign Legal Center referred the matter to the Office of Congressional Ethics and asked them to open an investigation into Axne.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.