Is MP Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) a good government crusader? Or is he a scammer who hopes to hide his past mistakes?
While Congress is debating a ban on stock trading for its members, the issue has come to the fore in New York’s 7th constituency race, where Malinowski is likely to face a rematch with former Senate minority leader Tom Keane Jr. (R -Westfield).
Last spring, Business Insider reported that Malinowski had failed to be properly disclosed dozens of exchange trades, which led to a request from the Ethics Committee of the House of Representatives still ongoing. The story prompted Keane, who nearly fired Malinowski in 2020, to call the congressman an unethical actor who should be expelled from Congress.
But Malinowski put his reserves in blind trust during the summer, and since then joined the movement ban stock trading in Congress as one of the most vocal supporters. And to hear about it his company, his fame – it’s not a facade; rather, it is a continuation of the work he had already done in Congress even before the news of stock trading.
“Since Congressman Malinowski entered the House, he has been a leader in promoting transparency between elected officials and the people they represent,” Malinowski’s communications director Nari Ketudat said in a statement. “He was one of the first to become an HR-1 champion, banning members of Congress from serving on corporate councils and strengthening the Congressional Ethics Office … Malinowski never took corporate money, and Keane took tons, even from corporations, to of which he owns shares. ».
Malinowski was also a sponsor PAC Fraud Act, which will be directed to political action committees that collect donations for personal gain, during both of his tenure, providing another mark on his track record of good governance. And he started beating Keane for Keane’s own stock exchange operations as a New Jersey legislator, an office that is subject to far fewer rules than members of Congress.
Keane doesn’t buy this. In an interview, Kin for Congress head Dan Scharfenberger said Malinowski was simply trying to hide his unethical past.
“It really comes from insincere places,” Scharfenberger said of Malinowski’s efforts to ban stock trading. “Tom Malinowski is doing the right thing only after he was caught. It happened again and again. It’s a template. “
As for the question itself, the candidates may not be so different; Scharfenberger said Keane supports the Congressional Trust Act and the Conflict Trade Prohibition Act, two bills co-authored by Malinowski that require members of Congress to place their shares in blind trusts and ban Congress from trading, respectively.
This position is becoming increasingly fundamental; Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have expressed their support, as well as a growing number of candidates for Congressman uprising, such as Nick De Gregorioa Republican running in the state’s 5th constituency.
But Scharfenberger insisted that even when agreeing on the issue itself, voters should care about the history of those who insist on reform.
«[Malinowski’s advocacy] it’s all politics, it’s not an honest approach, “he said. “It’s like a bank robber who takes a job, goes to jail and immediately becomes a supporter of harsher sentences and punishments for bank robbers. This is not the place of reforms. It comes from a place where you get in the public eye, and only then does it come to do the right thing. ”
In general, voters are faced with two competing stories that are largely true. Malinowski, like many Democrats in Congress, first elected in 2018, was and remains a crusader for good government reform; at the same time he did not raise the question of stock trading in Congress until he himself was put in a hot spot.
Mika Rasmussen, director of the Institute of Politics of New Jersey Rebovich at Ryder University, said that regardless of Malinowski’s and Keane’s history on the issue, it is advantageous for each of them to play attack: Keane because it provides an easy way to identify Malinowski as incumbent president. “Left Washington,” and Malinowski, because active clearance of the problem can only help.
“The best answer to that [Malinowski] going to come up with this to say, “Now the rules allow members of Congress to trade. And I traded. In the future, I do not think that members of Congress should trade, and therefore I stand for this measure, “- said Rasmussen. “I don’t know he’ll do anything better than that.”
Interestingly, Malinowski did not always express his support for a ban on stock trading in Congress in this way, as it would require recognizing a certain level of wrongdoing before the House Ethics Committee completes its work. But in an interview with NBC News – Malinowski was not available for an interview with the New Jersey Globe – he indirectly linked recent legislation to his own history of stocks.
“I would like to come to that conclusion on the day I was sworn in,” the congressman said.
Rasmussen also noted that for Keane, the facts are likely to be less important. Even if the House Ethics Committee gives Malinowski a clear health report (or simply stays suspended, as it has been for months), it is hard to imagine that Keane’s campaign will drop a politically strong line of attack.
“They have a duty and they are not going to let it go,” he said. “They will be like a dog with a bone, and who blames them? This is a clear question. “
In a hypothetical world where Malinowski has never had any problems with funds, he will still be vulnerable this year. Keane lost by just one point in 2020 (before the scandal erupted), and a new state congressional map moves the 7th arrondissement a few points toward the Republicans.
But Rasmussen said that, regardless of other factors, the outcome of the November election may depend in part on how much a congressman can sell to voters in his legislative record – a record that Keene himself in many cases supports – and overcome negative perceptions.
“If Malinowski can legally claim a leadership role [in banning congressional stock trading] and to say, “This is the reform I was involved in,” is what voters can say, “Okay, here’s something constructive to get out of this whole episode,” he said.