Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville Violated Federal Transparency Law by Failing to Properly Disclose Stock Transactions Worth up to $3.56 Million
From Business Insider
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, the junior Republican from Alabama, failed to properly disclose stock and stock-option trades together worth at least $894,000 and as much as $3.56 million, according to a Business Insider analysis of newly filed Senate records.
Tuberville was weeks or months late in disclosing nearly 130 separate trades made between early January and early May. Federal lawmakers violate the STOCK Act’s transparency provision if they don’t formally disclose a trade in a certified report within 45 days of a stock trade.
Among Tuberville’s trades: a January 25 stock option sale involving Alibaba Group Holding Limited. The Chinese e-commerce company has ties to the Chinese Communist Party, for which it reportedly helped produce a propaganda app.
Tuberville’s office previously told Business Insider the senator had fully divested of a separate Alibaba stock investment in 2020 before becoming a senator early this year. Tuberville is one of Congress’ preeminent critics of China’s government.
The senator earlier this year also bought and sold stock and stock options in a variety of companies particularly sensitive to the COVID-19 pandemic. They include Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., which made a COVID treatment used last year to treat former President Donald Trump; Johnson & Johnson, which manufactures one of the leading COVID vaccines; and 3M, which makes a variety of medical and personal protective products.
Tuberville is a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which has this year routinely conducted hearings on COVID-19 matters.
Tuberville also reported making five separate stock and stock-option transactions involving aluminum company Alcoa on January 6, the day pro-Donald Trump rioters attacked the US Capitol.
Other trades involved the stocks of Google parent company Alphabet, PayPal Holdings Inc., eBay Inc., confectioner The Hershey Company, Warren Buffett holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and Occidental Petroleum Corporation, according to a certified disclosure statement dated July 23.
His largest single trades involved a May 6 purchase of United States Steel Corporation stock and a March 16 purchase of Alcoa stock, each valued at between $100,001 and $250,000. Members of Congress are required to report stock trade values only in broad ranges.
Tuberville does not personally make his own stock trades and has “long had financial advisors who actively manage his portfolio without his day-to-day involvement,” Tuberville spokeswoman Ryann DuRant said in a statement to Insider. “Senator Tuberville was unaware that the specific transactions reported in this particular periodic transaction report occurred.”
Once Tuberville became aware of the transactions, “the senator expeditiously prepared and submitted this report to the Senate Ethics Committee,” DuRant said. “The Senator has put processes in place for timely reporting moving forward.”
DuRant did not respond to Insider questions about who Tuberville’s financial advisers are or whether the senator has given his financial advisers direction regarding buying or selling stock in Chinese companies. She also did not respond to a question on whether Tuberville plans to continue trading stocks in the future.
Fines for a first-time STOCK Act violator begin at $200. It’s unclear whether Tuberville has paid a fine for filing his stock disclosures late.
“Our office is working with the [Senate Ethics] Committee to ensure full compliance with their rules,” DuRant said. Representatives from the Senate Ethics Committee did not respond to messages.
Tuberville first came to national prominence not on Capitol Hill but on the football field, serving 10 years as the coach of the Auburn University Tigers. There, he led Auburn to a perfect season and No. 2 national ranking in 2004. He resigned from Auburn in 2008 and subsequently coached at Texas Tech University and the University of Cincinnati.
Tuberville entered the political arena last year and easily defeated Jeff Sessions, a former US senator and attorney general under President Donald Trump, in a Republican primary before beating incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in the November general election.