Rep. Cindy Axne is at the center of controversy after a recent New York Times investigation uncovered 13 financial transactions undertaken by Axne or her husband that could indicate conflicts of interest. The Times report uncovered trades in shares of Visa, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase, among other financial firms that she has oversight power over on the House Financial Services Committee.
Other questionable trades made by Axne were in the shares of various insurance and food companies that she has oversight over on the House’s Agriculture Committee and Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance.
The report’s findings have elicited sharp criticisms from Republicans.
“We aren’t shocked to hear that Cindy Axne has used her congressional powers to get rich,” a spokesperson for Axne’s Republican challenger, Zach Nunn, said in a statement. “Axne is one of the most corrupt politicians in D.C. and one of the most liberal. She has been caught illegally insider stock trading and taking dark money from PACs. She lied to Iowans with verified false campaign attack ads. She lied about her voting record, claiming she’s bipartisan but in reality voting with Biden even more than progressives like AOC. Axne always says one thing but does another. Here in Iowa, we call that untrustworthy. Iowans deserve better.”
This isn’t the first time that Axne’s stock trading has mired her in a legal and political quagmire. Last year, the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan political watchdog group, alleged that Axne illegally purchased 40 assets without disclosing the transactions, as required by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. The assets in question were valued up to $645,000.
In a letter detailing its findings, the Campaign Legal Center noted that based on the frequency and scale of the incidents, the unreported trades were “unlikely to be merely an oversight.”
At the time, Axne brushed off widespread criticism by suggesting that she was not actively managing her retirement account. A few months after the Campaign Legal Center published its scathing letter, Axne also came out in support of legislation to ban stock trading by members of Congress. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was also mired in her own insider trading scandal at the time (among other, longstanding allegations of conflicts of interests involving members of her family benefitting from legislation she helped shepherd), similarly came out in favor of banning stock trading by members of Congress.
Although Axne claimed earlier this year that she was “working with four people right now on different bills surrounding that,” no such legislation has materialized in either Democrat-controlled chamber of Congress – prompting another set of attacks from Republicans.
“[T]he last time Axne was mired in insider trading allegations, she came out with totally genuine and earnest support for legislation to prohibit members of Congress from stock trading,” a Republican National Committee spokesman said in a press release. “What happened with that bill? Shockingly, it never materialized – all the while Axne kept her trades going. So will the real Cindy Axne please stand up and let Iowans know where she stands on congressional insider trading?”