by Guy Page
This month, Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Rep. Peter Welch has received at least three pieces of bad campaign news: critical coverage of his stock trading on the front page of the New York Times, positive national news coverage of GOP darkhorse challenger Gerald Malloy, and a national poll showing Malloy just 6.5% behind him.
Welch’s thumbnail photo appeared with many other members of Congress of both parties in an above-the-fold news story headlined “Stock Trades Reported by Nearly a Fifth of Congress Show Possible Conflicts.” The story named lawmakers owning stock in companies their committees oversee, transactions of these stocks, and lawmakers’ efforts to hide these transactions.
The New York Times story didn’t go into detail about Welch’s eyebrow-raising stock transactions. But other media already had.
According to Capitol Trades, Welch was the only member of the Vermont Congressional delegation to make stock market trades in the previous three years. Almost all of his 55 trades were “sell.” The most recent “buys” occurred in March, 2020, when Welch purchased between $1000 and $15,000 shares of Medtronic, a medical equipment company; PayPal; and Consolidated Edison, an energy company serving New York City and Westchester County.
The Washington Times reported December 28, 2021 that Welch and his wife Margaret Cheney failed to promptly report a September $6,238 sale of Exxon stock. Cheney reportedly had inherited the stock from her mother. Cheney is the former chair of the Vermont Public Service Board, the state’s ‘energy court.’ She also is a former chair of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee, where she oversaw pro-renewable power energy legislation.
The Exxon trade went unreported for 53 days. The tardy reporting violated a 2012 law co-sponsored by Welch regulating congressional stock sales. The law sets a 30-45 day trade reporting deadline.
On October 28, Welch grilled Exxon’s CEO at a House hearing, including challenging his ‘credibility.’
Those facts were not lost on a non-partisan government watchdog group, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT).
Recent reporting shows that Rep. Welch failed to disclose that his wife sold $6,238 in ExxonMobil stock on September 17, 2021, by the November 1, 2021, deadline,” FACT reported Dec. 22. “Although Rep. Welch’s spokesperson admitted that he had learned of the trade on October 25, 2021, he grilled ExxonMobil’s CEO in a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on October 28, 2021, and didn’t disclose the transaction until November 9, 2021, eight days after he was required to.
“Rep. Welch has been a member of Congress for nearly 15 years and is well aware of the financial reporting requirements. What makes this case egregious, beyond the violation itself, is that his office acknowledged that he knew of the transaction prior to the reporting deadline and not only missed it, but grilled the ExxonMobil CEO about transparency and credibility just days later. The OCE must fully investigate this violation and apply the requisite penalties,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT.
It also wasn’t the only tardily-reported trade. A sale of Cloetta AB worth $1000 – $15,000, went unreported for 106 days, Capitol Trades reports. Cloetta AB is a Swedish confectionary company.
Welch’s spokesperson told the Washington Times in December he would no longer trade stock. The most recent stock transaction attributed to Welch on Capitol Trades is November 18, 2021 – a month before the December, 2021 promise.
Vermont’s Republican U.S. Senate nominee Gerald Malloy said that “Vermonters are ready for change” after being “fed up” with the current leadership in the country during an appearance on Breitbart News Saturday.
“I can tell you campaigning in the last seven months [with] boots on the ground… Vermonters are ready for change,” Malloy told Breitbart News Saturday host, Breitbart News’ Washington Bureau Chief Matthew Boyle.
“Vermonters have common sense, and they see, you know, paying at the pump and paying at the grocery store, and they’re fed up with the performance… from their leadership in Congress, and they’re ready for change,” Malloy explained.
He also noted that the campaign is moving in a “very positive” direction after a recent poll from the Trafalgar Group showed that Malloy is only 6.5 percent down from Rep. Peter Welsh (D-VT), a career politician who’s been endorsed by socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).