The office of Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Kelly responds to ethics scrutiny detailed in a report by the Office of Congressional Ethics.

In the report released last week, the ethics office lays out the time line of a stock purchase by Kelly's wife in April of 2020. The Associated Press reports the findings showed Victoria Kelly purchased between $15,001 and $50,000 worth of Cleveland Cliffs Inc. stock.

The stock was purchased at around $4.70 a share and was later sold at $18.11 a share according to the report.

The Ohio-based steelmaker Cleveland Cliffs Inc. threatened to shut down a plant in Butler, Pennsylvania, if the Trump administration didn't change what it called a loophole on steel tariffs to protect its electrical steel laminations and cores. Cleveland Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves and Butler County commissioners sent a letter to Trump on March 9.

The administration took steps after Kelly asked them to step in to help save the plant, which is located within his district. The plant's survival was critical, with 1,400 jobs at stake and multiple suppliers who employed workers.

The Office of Congressional Ethics recommended the House Ethics Committee investigate the allegations, citing there is substantial reason to believe that the April 29, 2020 stock purchase was based upon confidential information that "Rep. Kelly learned during his official job duties".

"The allegations from the Office of Congressional Ethics are extremely serious, because it is very rare to see a member insider trading case," Kedric Payne said, senior ethics director and vice president of general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center.

The committee on ethics announced late last week it would continue to gather information to complete its review.

Congressman Kelly's press secretary released the following statement:

"Congressman Kelly has been open and transparent about his required financial disclosures during his decade in the United States House of Representatives, including the inquiry by the House Committee on Ethics," Matt Knoedler said, press secretary for Rep. Mike Kelly.

"Details published in news reports regarding those disclosures were found because the Congressman publicly reported his financial records. Both the Congressman and Mrs. Kelly have been, and will continue to be, advocates and supporters of the Butler Works/Cleveland Cliffs plant in Butler, where they are lifelong residents. For years, Congressman Kelly has been a vocal leader to save the approximately 1,400 jobs at the Butler plant, including bipartisan legislation and letters. The Congressman is proud to continue serving the great Pennsylvanians of the commonwealth's 16th Congressional District."

The ethics committee could decide to censure or reprimand Kelly.

While Payne says he's not seen a similar case in recent history, he doesn't believe the House committee will take any action. 

"Unfortunately the history shows that when the Office of Congressional Ethics sends over a strong case of possible violations, the committee on ethics doesn't follow through on the next step," he said.

Danielle Caputo is the legislative affairs and program counsel for Issue One, an organization that advocates for transparency and stronger ethics among government officials. She believes the allegations of possible insider trading could rise to the level of meriting a separate federal investigation.

"Even if the House Ethics Committee decides they're not going to move forward, they're not going to do anything, the SEC could still take over and there could be civil or criminal charges," Caputo explained.

Knoedler did not say whether Kelly and his wife were cooperating with the ethics office or the ethics committee's investigations.