Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas), a first-term Congressman, has been caught apparently violating federal law to the tune of millions of dollars. A new report from Business Insider explains how Fallon failed to make a timely disclosure of months of stock trades worth an overall total of at least $7.8 million and potentially as much as $17.53 million. Members’ of Congress disclosures of stock trades are only required to include ranges in which the values fall, rather than exact amounts.
According to federal law, members of the House of Representatives must disclose stock trades within 30 days from when they become aware of the transactions, but Fallon did not do so. His disclosures ranged from around one month late to around four months late. In theory, late disclosures of stock trades could spark ethics investigations and fines, but at this point, it’s unclear whether Fallon will face any tangible consequences. Luke Ball, a spokesperson for the Congressman, chalked up the reporting errors to a lack of familiarity with the relevant rules on the Congressman’s part.
‘As a freshman member, Congressman Fallon was unfamiliar with how frequently members of Congress are required to file financial disclosures, having served in other public offices where the requirements are different. Upon learning of the requirement, he immediately filed a disclosure with the appropriate entities. That disclosure is available for the public to review. Congressman Fallon looks forward to remaining in compliance with future filings.’
One of the companies whose stock Fallon traded was Boeing, and troublingly, the Congressman currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee, providing him with an opportunity for oversight of any work conducted by the company for the Defense Department. The amounts that he was dealing with weren’t small, either — across January to April of this year, Fallon purchased between $300,000 and $750,000 of stock in the company and sold somewhere $219,000 to $610,000 of it. In theory, Fallon could back moves that would financially benefit Boeing, financially benefiting himself as well. There’s also the potential of insider trading if Fallon were to make stock trades based on information that wasn’t publicly available but that he nevertheless had access to as a U.S. Representative.