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N.J. Democrat Rep. Malinowski profits on COVID-related stocks, draws congressional ethics complaints

The congressman reportedly bought or sold as much as $1 million of stock in medical and tech companies that had stake in virus response.

Updated: May 22, 2021 - 7:41pm

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New Jersey Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski said at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic now's "not the time for anybody to be profiting off of selling ventilators, vaccines, drugs, treatments, PPE (personal protective equipment), anywhere in the world."

However, records appear to show that he did.

"Since early 2020, Malinowski has bought or sold as much as $1 million of stock in medical and tech companies that had a stake in the virus response," according to an analysis of transaction records by the Associated Press. 

"The trades were just one slice of a stock buying and selling spree by the congressman during that time, worth as much as $3.2 million that he did not properly disclose," the wire service also said. 

Two complaints have been filed against Malinowski with the Office of Congressional Ethics.

The Stock Act, a law passed in 2012, is meant to prevent members of Congress from using inside information to make investment decisions and requires all stock trades be reported to Congress within 45 days.

Yet in the nearly 10 years since the law was enacted, nobody has been prosecuted under it even as many members continue to conspicuously trade," according to the AP.

Malinowski bought the stocks when they dropped and profited when they went back up. "In other cases, he sold shares before they fell substantially, according to the AP's analysis of a list of trades that his office said he made in 2020," the AP reported.

He also sold some stocks short, which means he bet against businesses that would decline, while they were looking to the government for financial assistance.

Malinowski said Thursday that failing to file the transactions and that was "a mistake that I own 100 percent."

He said the reports, some of which were due over a year ago, have been submitted but not released by the congressional ethics office, which did not respond to the wire service's request for comment.

Malinowski and his brokerage firm said the congressman does not speak to the firm about specific transactions. However, he acknowledged having ultimate control over his account when the trades were made.

Malinowski bought $190,000 to $625,000 worth of stock as the virus drove a market collapse, the AP reported.

Some of the companies he invested in were developing COVID-19 testing or therapeutics to combat illnesses caused by the disease.

Days after Congress had been briefed in February 2020 about on COVID-19, Malinowski sold $1,001 to $15,000 shares in Kimco Realty, a company that owns shopping centers across the U.S. The company's share price the next month dropped to about half of its value the next month. The congressman then bought back  $15,001 $50,000 in company stock that has since increased by roughly 50 percent, the wire service's analysis shows.