Evidence Suggests Rep. Blumenauer (OR) Violated Ethics Laws Regarding Stock Transactions
Washington, D.C., -- November 28, 2022, The non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), has requested the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) immediately investigate whether Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s purchase of stock in a company directly related to his oversight role on the Health Subcommittee violated conflict of interest laws.
House Ethics rules require Members to “conduct themselves at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House” and to adhere to the spirit and letter of the ethics rules. In addition, specific rules require Members to refrain from taking official action when the Member has either an apparent or actual conflict of interest, and Members are prohibited from using their official position and information obtained from it for personal gain.
Recent reporting shows that on September 26, 2022, Rep. Blumenauer’s wife purchased up to $15,000 of stock shares in the biopharmaceutical company Amgen. Then on October 4, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it was spending $290 million for supplies of Amgen’s drug Nplate, resulting in Amgen stock surging over 24% as of November 10.
Rep. Blumenauer is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and its Health Subcommittee. The Health Subcommittee “handles legislation and oversight related to programs paying for healthcare, health delivery systems, or health research and oversees the Department of Health and Human Services Administration.”
Additionally, this is not the first time Rep. Blumenauer’s stock purchases have raised public concern about a conflict of interest. On September 13, 2022, the New York Times reported that Blumenauer’s wife “bought or sold stocks or bonds in several health care companies, including CVS Health and UnitedHealth Group. Both companies offer Medicare Advantage plans…Blumenauer sits on the House Ways and Means Committee and its Health Subcommittee, which have jurisdiction over Medicare.” Again, Rep. Blumenauer’s stock ownership clearly appears to affect his ability to act impartially, but further, his role on the subcommittee directly involves his personal financial interests.
“Given the information that they have access to, under the ethics rules, Members of Congress who sit on committees must meet a higher standard. Every time the public sees a transaction like this it causes them to question the motivation of our elected officials – something the ethics rules are specifically designed to prevent. The facts of this case require that the OCE investigate to determine precisely what occurred here and to prevent these types of transactions in the future,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT.
A full copy of the complaint can be found here.
FACT is a nonprofit organization to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas. For more on FACT, visit: http://www.factdc.org/