Posted by Curt on 11 July, 2018 at 2:18 pm. 1 comment.


On April 10, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified at a joint hearing of the Senate’s Commerce and Judiciary Committees, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal that saw as many as 87 million Facebook users’ personal information compromised. As the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was one of four senators to make opening remarks and one of the first to question Zuckerberg.

At the time of the hearing, the senator had recently purchased between $100,000 and $250,000 of Facebook stock. The transaction was undisclosed at the time, because it did not appear on any financial disclosures until a May 22 periodic transaction report. Feinstein, who is the 10th richest member of Congress, made the purchase on January 12.

Three members of Congress sitting on committees that Zuckerberg testified before disclosed owning Facebook stock at the time of the hearing, according to D.C. publication Roll Call. Had Feinstein disclosed her purchase prior to the joint Senate hearing, she too would have been named in that list.

Excerpt from Dianne Feinstein’s May 22, 2018 periodic transaction report showing the January 12 purchase of $100,000-$250,000 of Facebook stock.

Unlike many of her colleagues, Sen. Feinstein focused her questions on foreign influence operations using Facebook’s platform, rather than violations of user privacy — an anomaly her hometown paper the San Francisco Chronicle noted.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, passed in 2012, requires members of Congress to disclose any stock transactions within 45 days of a transaction or being notified of a transaction by an agent like a stock broker. Senator Feinstein may have complied with the letter of the law in this case, though it is unknown when she was notified of the sale by her broker. Senator Feinstein’s office did not respond to repeated requests by Sludge to answer questions about the purchase.

By not disclosing her investment of at minimum $100,000 in Facebook until after the hearing, she could be viewed as deliberately concealing a possible conflict of interest.

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