End Citizens United has filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics against Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., Spectrum News has learned.

In a copy of the complaint first obtained by Spectrum News, Tiffany Muller, president of the political action fund, wrote a request to the committee to have Garcia investigated for alleged violations of the Ethics in Government Act. Earlier this week, the Daily Beast reported that Garcia sold up to $50,000 in shares of Boeing weeks before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which Garcia served on at the time, released its report investigating the deadly crashes involving Boeing’s 737 Max airliner.

What You Need To Know

  • End Citizens United, a political action fund, has filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics against Rep. Mike Garcia

  • The filing follows a report by the Daily Beast that Garcia sold up to $50,000 worth of Boeing stock ahead of a damning report against Boeing that was released in 2020 by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

  • Garcia served on the committee at that time and is facing accusations of insider trading in violation of the STOCK Act

  • A spokesperson for Rep. Garcia called this a “desperate attempt to resurrect a previously failed partisan attack” 

Garcia eventually disclosed the trade of the stock, but the report was more than two months past the 45-day reporting period set by Congress and weeks after the November 2020 election.  

Garcia won his seat in 2020 by 333 votes against Democrat Christy Smith.

The letter accuses Garcia of failing to disclose his assets and that he has “deprived the public of the ability to fully assess his financial assets and potential conflicts of interest.”

“Congressman Garcia not only betrayed his constituents’ trust by using non-public information to protect his financial assets, but he illegally covered it up by purposely failing to report the trade until after his reelection. This is a blatant abuse of power and a slap in the face to families in his district who trusted him to fight for their needs, not to safeguard his stock portfolio,” Muller said in a statement shared with Spectrum News.

“For years, Congressman Garcia has engaged in a consistent and disturbing pattern of violating the law to conceal his financial interests from his constituents,” Muller said. “We urge the Office of Congressional Ethics to immediately launch an investigation into Congressman Garcia’s actions and hold him accountable for this egregious abuse of power.”

A spokesperson for Rep. Garcia called this a “desperate attempt to resurrect a previously failed partisan attack.” 

“Rep. Garcia was not aware of the content of the subject report until it was released. He also engaged in no meetings or hearings on the subject. This makes claims of insider trading an impossibility. In short, he was not privy to any information that wasn’t public domain,” said spokesman Liam Anderson. "The fact is Congressman Garcia started to divest from companies as soon as he was elected in May 2020, and, as a newly-elected Member of the minority, he had no insight to the Democrat-written and controlled report in reference."

“Congressman Garcia immediately rectified the accidental late filing. Everything is filed and everything is public. People are sick of these blatant lies and see right through these lazy attempts to smear their political opponents.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee argued this was a “pursuit of enriching himself on the taxpayer’s dime.”

“Mike Garcia seems to believe that the rules simply wouldn’t apply to him and that Californians wouldn’t notice. Garcia has continuously skirted congressional ethics rules to hide inconvenient financial information from the public, and now it appears he may have participated in insider trading, said Dan Gottlieb, a spokesman for DCCC. “Voters in California’s 27th district deserve to know what other get-rich schemes Mike Garcia is hiding from them.”

The campaign for George Whitesides, a Democrat who is seeking Garcia’s seat, issued a statement saying, “Congressman Mike Garcia has become part of the problem in Washington. He went to Congress, almost immediately broke the rules to benefit himself, and has chosen to vote for his party’s interests over the interests of people in Santa Clarita, the San Fernando Valley, and the Antelope Valley ever since. George Whitesides is a business leader running to serve the needs of area families – not himself.”

Garcia staffers refute this, saying Democrats “created a narrative that doesn’t make sense on timing, on any knowledge of the report they mention, and or financially.” 

“Sales were not made to make money. Any accusations of insider trading or malfeasance is completely not true and just an attempt to smear,” a staffer said.

The STOCK Act prohibits members of Congress from using information gained in the performance of official duties and requires lawmakers to make public transactions valued at more than $1,000 within 45 days of the transaction date. There has been a growing bipartisan push to ban stock trading by lawmakers and other government officials, as recently as earlier this year, with the introduction of the Ban Stock Trading for Government Officials Act earlier this year in the Senate by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

A request for an ethics investigation does not guarantee one will be opened. But whether or not the office decides to pursue the request, experts say stories like the one released this week only further erode public trust.

“It seems like every year we have at least a few stories of very coincidental trade activities from sitting members of Congress. Even if they genuinely did nothing wrong, the appearances alone lean into people’s worst instincts about politicians taking advantage of their positions and access to information to feather their own nests,” said Casey Burgat, a professor at The George Washington University.

“These sentiments further erode trust in lawmakers and the institutions of government, at a time when we can’t afford any further erosion,” he said.

NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect a new statement from Congressman Garcia's spokesperson.