Harshbarger rep says financial advisor caused congresswoman to violate stock disclosure rules

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(WJHL) — A spokesperson for Rep. Diana Harshbarger says a financial advisor’s “gross oversight” caused the congresswoman to violate federal financial disclosure requirements.

Business Insider reports that Harshbarger failed to properly report more than 700 stock trades by herself and her husband Robert Harshbarger between January and June.

The value of those trades was at least $728,000, but could be as much as $10.9 million, according to the report.

A spokesperson for Harshbarger said her financial advisor’s shortcomings were to blame for the error. He also said the congresswoman self-reported the mistakes to House Committee on Ethics and filed amended reports in order to reach compliance.

In December 2020, the Congresswoman retained legal counsel to ensure compliance with all House Committee on Ethics guidelines and reporting requirements. That Counsel established a system and protocols with the Congresswoman’s personal Financial Planner who provided assurance of familiarity and experience with all processes and requirements. The Financial Advisor manages the portfolio without any authorization, direction, or approval from Congresswoman Harshbarger.

The Financial Advisor did not follow the established system and protocols. When the Financial Advisors’ gross oversight was discovered, it became immediately clear that he was not familiar, and his error caused the Congresswoman not to meet reporting requirements within the specified timeframe. 

Congresswoman Harshbarger and our counsel immediately worked to rectify by self-reporting to the Committee and worked with it to file all necessary paperwork. 

Congresswoman Harshbarger, despite her best efforts to remain compliant, accepts full responsibility and has taken the appropriate steps to ensure this never happens again.” 

Zac Rutherford, chief of staff for Rep. Diana Harshbarger

According to Business Insider, the congresswoman’s noncompliance could prompt an ethics investigation or fine.

The report states that several other lawmakers appear to have failed to properly disclose stock trades this year, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).

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