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Ethics complaint against Rep. Cindy Axne unanimously dismissed

The committee unanimously dismissed the complaint, saying there was "no clear evidence" Axne knowingly failed to disclose stock trading activity.

DES MOINES, Iowa — In a unanimous decision, the House Committee on Ethics dismissed a complaint alleging that Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) did not disclose financial records on time. 

The dismissal comes more than half a year after the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, initially submitted the complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). 

The complaint called for an investigation into Axne, alleging she failed to disclose "significant" stock trading activity in 2019 and 2020, violating the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act.

"Axne appears to have purchased and sold more than 40 assets with a total value ranging from approximately $43,043 to $645,000 without disclosing transactions," the complaint said. "While Rep. Axne disclosed the ownership of these assets on her annual financial disclosures, she did not file any corresponding periodic transaction reports (PTRs)."

The STOCK Act makes it so members of Congress must disclose a stock trade within 45 days of the trade, with no exceptions. 

In February, however, the OCE recommended the complaint be dismissed, citing a lack of "substantial reason" to believe the allegation. From there, the OCE referred the complaint to the House Committee on Ethics. 

Upon reviewing the referral, the Committee dismissed the complaint, consistent with the OCE's recommendation.

"The Committee concluded that there was not clear evidence that any errors and omissions in your Periodic Transaction Reports (PTRs) were knowing or willful and that you were generally unclear on the requirements relating to PTR filings," the Committee said in a letter to Axne.

Axne issued the following statement in response to the dismissal: 

“Today, the bipartisan House Committee on Ethics joined the Office of Congressional Ethics and voted unanimously to dismiss the complaint that was previously filed. Despite partisan claims to the contrary, the reality is that I have been leading a bipartisan effort in the House to ban stock trading by Members of Congress. The most important part of this job is keeping the publics' trust, and that’s why I am working to stop Members from getting rich in the stock market."

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