U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, of North Carolinaâ€™s 10th District, has responded after coming under fire again from Denver journalist and congressional candidate Ken Fortenberry.
Fortenberry, who is challenging McHenry for his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in Mayâ€™s Republican primary, released new complaints against the congressman last week, this time for his stance on ethics in government. Fortenberry has previously taken issue with his opponent over his staff payroll and use of taxpayer dollars.
In a press release, Fortenberry said that, if elected, he would make restoring the publicâ€™s trust in government a top priority, and he believes that McHenry has come up short on this front. Specifically, Fortenberry said he would introduce legislation that would require members of the U.S. Congress to disclose â€œevery single pennyâ€ of their income and finances.
â€œWhen I asked Rep. Patrick McHenry last week why he would not co-sponsor the STOCK Act, a bill that would prohibit insider stock trading by members of Congress, he replied that the legislation was the creation ofÂ â€˜liberal Democratsâ€™ and not worthy of his support,â€ Fortenberry said.
â€œRestoring the publicâ€™s trust in government has never been a priority for McHenry, who turns everything into a petty partisan battle,â€ he added. â€œThis is one of the reasons Washington is broken and not working for the people, and why we need to clean House on Election Day.â€
â€œMembers of Congress should play by the same rules as all Americans,â€ Fortenberry asserted. â€œMcHenry is dead-wrong in putting his friends above the people he is supposed to represent.â€
When asked for comment on these allegations, Ryan Minto, who handles press for the congressmanâ€™s office, offered a statement from McHenry to the Times-News on Tuesday.
â€œWhile I personally donâ€™t trade stocks, I understand the concern over this issue,â€ McHenry said. â€œThe STOCK Act does not address holes in the existing insider-trading law, which may allow lawmakers to improperly enrich themselves. It would not, for example, address the troubling practice of access to exclusive IPOs by high-ranking members.
â€œMembers of Congress should have to report all of their stock trades publicly in every instance â€” period,â€ McHenry added. â€œIncreased disclosure will add transparency to help enforce the current insider-trading law, and anyone guilty of committing a crime should be prosecuted.â€
In his release, Fortenberry additionally stated that ethics and honesty in government should not be viewed as a partisan issue.
Furthermore, he also said he would introduce legislation, if elected, that would prohibit members of Congress and Cabinet-level officials from lobbying for four years after they leave their positions, in addition to requiring them to fully disclose all of their personal finances during that time period.
â€œItâ€™s bad enough that Mr. McHenry ignores the shenanigans of the big banks and securities firms, but itâ€™s made even worse when he turns a blind eye to the corruption among his colleagues,â€ Fortenberry concluded.