New Jersey Republican Tom Kean Jr. says he will put his personal investments in a blind trust, heading off criticism over a key issue during his midterm election campaign.
“I am committed to bringing the highest level of ethics and transparency to this office,” Kean said in a written statement this week. “I believe members of Congress owe their constituents full and timely reporting on their disclosures.”
Kean was elected to Congress in November, but his swearing-in ceremony — like that of all House members – has been delayed by an ongoing fight over which Republican will become speaker of the House. As of mid-Wednesday afternoon, House members had yet to elect a speaker after several rounds of voting.
During the 2022 midterm election, Kean criticized incumbent Democrat Tom Malinowski over undisclosed stock trades that were investigated by the U.S. House Committee on Ethics. The investigation concluded that Malinowski’s broker had made the trades without his knowledge, but Malinowski was at fault for not disclosing them. Malinowski then moved his investments into a blind trust.
In debates during the campaign, Kean brought up the stock trades and Malinowski fought back.
“There is a difference here, between us. Mr. Kean is also actively trading in the stock market to this day. He also takes campaign contributions from the companies that he invests in,” Malinowski said in an October debate.
Kean responded by bringing it back to the House ethics investigation.
“This is not about stocks, this is about ethics,” Kean said.
Kean is the second-wealthiest representative in the incoming New Jersey congressional delegation, with $6.5 million in assets, according to an NJ.com report. The wealthiest representative is Josh Gottheimer, with assets worth $18.2 million.
Kean says he will work with the House ethics committee and his own lawyers to put his assets in a blind trust.