The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is going after U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala for violating federal law by failing to report hundreds of stock sales in 2019.
Shalala was fined $1,200 for violating the STOCK Act by not publicly disclosing those sales.
The NRCC published a 30-second spot snipping together a series of news reports recapping Shalala’s violations, while the NRCC labels her a “political elitist.” The compilation also includes portions of Shalala’s own response to the violation.
“Look, I knew what the law was,” Shalala said, as excerpted in the ad. “No one else is responsible except for me.”
The episode bubbled up after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed Shalala to oversee a $500 billion corporate relief package approved in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some criticized her selection, noting Shalala’s most recent financial report showed she owned stocks in several companies that could benefit from corporate payouts. In theory, critics warned, that could create at least the appearance of a conflict of interest with regard to Shalala’s decision-making.
Shalala responded by stating she had already begun selling many of those interests shortly after joining Congress. The Democrat won the contest for Florida’s 27th Congressional District in 2018.
While Shalala was attempting to assuage concerns, her admission led to the discovery that they had not been disclosed publicly, in violation of the 2012 STOCK Act.
Shalala’s team originally said the lapse in reporting was because of a “misunderstanding.” The Congresswoman followed up with a report in late April, detailing more than 550 stock transactions made throughout 2019.
In an interview with Jim DeFede of CBS Miami, Shalala admitted she was aware of the reported deadlines but defended the overall sales.
“I was doing the opposite of insider trading,” Shalala told DeFede. “I was getting rid of any conflict of interest in the process. But I absolutely missed those deadlines and I apologize for [it]. It was my mistake and I take full responsibility.”
Added NRCC Spokeswoman Camille Gallo, “Political elitist Donna Shalala admitted she willfully broke federal law and has destroyed the trust of her constituents.”
“Floridians deserve better and are ready to vote Donna Shalala out in November.”
The NRCC is backing Shalala’s Republican opponent, Maria Elvira Salazar. Salazar is seeking a general election rematch after losing to Shalala in 2018.