Representative Donna Shalala has come under fire for a second time after failing to disclose stock sales within the 45 day window specified in the STOCK Act. Republican challenger Maria Elvira Salazar called Shalala corrupt in an interview in response. Salazar has also already used these violations to run attack ads against Shalala. Salazar, a daughter of Cuban exiles, has also attacked Shalala as a political insider who is out of touch with her Miami Constituency and an enabler for radical socialist policies in her campaign announcement video. Shalala does work on the COVID-19 Congressional Oversight Commission, but the stocks she most recently sold do not relate to COVID-19.
Shalala claims that the stock in question, shares of the multimedia company Tegna, was sold as part of a deferred compensation for her work on the board of Tegna's former parent organization, and that she wasn’t made aware that the sales were taking place. The stock was sold in two transactions, one on April 1st , 2019, and another on July 21st of the same year, the same day as a failed takeover bid.
In April 2020, Shalala apologized for failing to report a larger set of stock sales after her election to the House of Representatives. She claimed in that apology that the intention of her sale was in fact to avoid a conflict of interest by selling most of the individual stocks that she owned, and that she is a strong supporter of the STOCK Act. The House Ethics Committee fined Shalala $1,200 for a total of six violations in this previous case.
Shalala is an active trader; we reported in our “Top-5 Traders in the House: 2020 MidYear” that she had disclosed 562 trades by July 1, making her one of the most active stock traders in Congress. In 2019, Shalala disclosed 759 transactions, mostly valued between $1,001 and $15,000. It is worth noting that Shalala, who is in the Congressional Solar Caucus, sold most of her shares in energy companies in 2019, consistent with her claim that her active trading in 2019 was in an effort to avoid conflicts of interest. Before her election to the House in 2018, Shalala was President of the Clinton Foundation from 2015 to 2017, president of the University of Miami from 2001 to 2015, and Secretary of Health and Human Services under Bill Clinton.