An analysis of personal financial disclosure data as of 16 August has found that 51 senators and their spouses have as much as $96m personally invested in corporate stocks in five key sectors: communications/electronics; defense; energy and natural resources; finance, insurance and real estate; and health.
The majority of these stocks come from public companies, and some are private.
Overall, the senators are invested in 338 companies – including tech firms such as Apple and Microsoft, oil and gas giants including ExxonMobil and Antero Midstream, telecom companies including Verizon, and major defense contractors such as Boeing – in the five sectors as categorized by Sludge.
Congressional financial disclosures present investments in dollar ranges, not exact amounts, so all data in this report comes in ranges, some very wide. The median stock investment range in the five sectors for the 51 senators is between $100,000 and $365,000, while the average range of the investments is between $551,000 and nearly $1,874,000.
Not only are the senators far wealthier than most of their constituents, but they’re in a prime position to increase their wealth via policymaking.
It’s not illegal for members of Congress to have personal financial stakes in the industries on which they legislate. But such investments raise questions about lawmakers’ motivations. If a representative on the House financial services committee owns hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock in Bank of America, how might this investment affect their questioning of Bank of America’s CEO in a hearing? Could it influence how they legislate and vote on banking issues?
While some members of Congress do try to limit possible conflicts of interest others claim their personal finances could never influence their conduct as elected representatives of the people, or fail to acknowledge concerns about their finances.
Senator Joe Manchin, the ranking member on the Senate energy and natural resources committee, owns between $1m and $5m worth of non-public stock in his family coal business, Enersystems, making him the only Democratic senator who is directly profiting from the environmentally devastating coal business.
Despite pressure from the left, the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, made Manchin the ranking member of the committee, and Manchin did not divest his coal holdings.
Some senators want to do away with these perceived conflicts of interest. Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced anti-corruption legislation in August 2018 that included a ban on members of Congress, senior congressional staff, cabinet secretaries, White House staff, federal judges and other officials from owning individual stocks, bonds, commodities, futures and other types of securities while in office.
The senators Sherrod Brown and Jeff Merkley introduced the Ban Conflicted Trading Act in December to prevent members of Congress and senior staff from trading individual corporate stocks.
Financial firms lead the way
Senators own between $28.1m and $95.6m worth of stock in the five sectors examined by Sludge and the Guardian. They have the most money invested in the finance, insurance and real estate sector due in part to the Republican senator John Hoeven’s investment in Westbrand, Inc, a private holding company that owns multiple banks, worth between roughly $5m and $25m.
Altogether, 37 senators and their spouses own between $12.8m and $48.2m worth of stock in the finance, insurance and real estate sector. They have the most money invested in the commercial banking industry, between $8.3m and $32.9m.
Senator Richard Shelby, a Republican member of the Senate banking, housing and urban affairs committee, owns between $1m and $5m worth of stock in private real estate insurance firm Tuscaloosa Title Company. Shelby sits on the housing, transportation and community development subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, affordable housing, foreclosure mitigation and other housing matters, and the securities, insurance and investment subcommittee, which oversees the insurance industry.
Nine other banking committee members are personally invested in the financial companies they oversee including the Republican John Kennedy and the Democrats Doug Jones, Robert Menendez and Tina Smith.
Mining, communications and healthcare
The same phenomenon of senators owning stock in industries they oversee exists in many other Senate committees.
Senators have between $8.3m and $22m invested in the communications and electronics sector, including up to $4.2m in internet companies and as much as $4.1m in computer software businesses. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a member of the commerce, science, and transportation committee’s subcommittee on communications, technology, innovation and the internet and the subcommittee on manufacturing, trade and consumer protection, owns between $53,000 and $194,000 worth of Microsoft stock, as much as $99,000 of Intel stock and up to $30,000 each in AT&T and Verizon stock.
Senator Jacky Rosen, who is also on both subcommittees, owns between $310,000 and $1m worth of communications and electronics stock. Her largest potential investments are as much as $265,000 in Amazon, up to $115,000 in AT&T and $100,000 in software company Adobe.
Energy and natural resources companies come up frequently in the senators’ investments; members own between $3.5m and $13.9m in stocks in this sector. As the world hurtles towards a potential climate catastrophe by 2030, senators own as much as $6.1m worth of stock in oil and gas companies. In addition, members have between $1.1m and $2.8m invested in electric and natural gas utilities stocks.
While medical debt piles up and tens of millions of Americans are still uninsured, senators own as much as $9.5m in health sector companies including insurers UnitedHealth Group and Anthem, pharmaceutical companies Abbott Labs, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, and pharmacy benefit manager CVS Health.
Tech stocks are most popular for political stock market bribes
While the financial sector has drawn the most investment dollars from senators, stocks in the internet and computer software and hardware industries are the most popular.
Fifteen senators own stock in Apple and in Microsoft; eleven are invested in Amazon and in Intel, and 10 own stock in Google’s parent company, Alphabet.
Republicans tend to be more eager to invest in corporate stocks; of the 25 most popular public stocks, Democrats invested outnumber Republicans in only three companies: General Electric, MetLife, and Pfizer. (General Electric is classified in the energy and natural resources sector for this report, due to its energy subsidiary, GE Power, which operates an oilfield services division.)
Overall, Republican senators own more in stock investments – between $18.8m and $63.7m – than Democrats, whose stock ownership is worth roughly half of that range, between $9.3m and $31.6m.
Aside from the Wireless Telecom Group, in which Senator Rick Scott of Florida has as much as $3m invested, the top public stocks by investment amount are Apple (between $798,000 and $2.2m), Microsoft ($588,000 to $2.2m), and Alphabet ($577,000 to $1.8m). Ownership in Amazon, which is vying for a $10bn defense contract, is not far behind at between $423,000 and $1.3m.
Wells Fargo, the financial giant that has paid numerous fines for its frequently fraudulent practices, is the bank that has attracted the most investment dollars from senators: as much as $1.5m. Also among the top stocks are telecom companies Crown Castle International ($385,000 to $1.2m), Verizon ($407,000 to $1m), and AT&T ($250,000 to $925,000).
Breaking down the Senators’ wealth
Because of Hoeven’s big investment in Westbrand Bank Holding Company, he has by far the most money in corporate stocks from the five sectors analyzed by Sludge and the Guardian.
In terms of total stock ownership in the five sectors, Senator Dianne Feinstein, who along with husband Richard Blum, an investment banker, is second, with up to $7m invested in the five sectors. Blum’s purchase of as much as $250,000 worth of Facebook stock three months before his wife questioned the Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, came under scrutiny after Sludge reported the trade. He has since sold off the stock, but the couple still owns up to $3.3m worth of communications and electronics sector stock, which is heavily represented their state of California, including between $150,001 and $650,000 invested in Alphabet.
Feinstein is followed by Senator David Perdue, who owns as much as $6.4m invested. In addition to his considerable financial sector stock, the former Dollar General CEO has stock holdings worth as much as $2.8m in the energy and natural resources sector and up to $2m in the communications and electronics sector.
I spend a lot of time talking about these concerns with every federal and European law enforcement agency... you should too...
Sen. Elizabeth Warren blasts ‘brazenness’ of California lawmakers who flouted a federal law meant to stop congressional insider trading and the utter lack of federal enforcement
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren called out the “brazenness” of California lawmakers who flouted a federal disclosure law in order to hide the bribes they took from insider trading.
- An Insider investigation found that dozens of members of Congress violated the STOCK Act.
- The “Conflicted Congress” project found members of Congress trading stocks in industries they’ve criticized.
Said one of the witnesses: “…I was a White House And Congressional Advisor. I was asked to participate in a criminal stock market manipulation, involving stimulus funds, that public figures had put together. I reported the crime. Federal officials then ran reprisal attacks on me using taxpayer-paid resources. According to the FBI and Congressional investigators, they spent over $30M buying media attacks. Now I want my damages, losses and monies-owed paid and I want the FBI to reveal what they found out from interviewing the attackers (ie: their 302 forms) because that reveals who paid the attackers. The feds defrauded me out of my life savings and got me to invest in their project that they had already covertly hard-wired to some Senator’s Big Tech financiers. Now the Feds have blockaded my rights to a lawyer, a jury trial and coverage of my damages, as political reprisal for speaking out…”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren denounced the “brazenness” of members of Congress who have flouted a federal law meant to stem insider trading in Congress and called for stronger enforcement in response to a new Insider investigation.
It has been demanded that the FBI interview and ascertain the attack contract compensation sources along with the command and control managers for attacker/Defendants: Gabrielle Darbyshire, A.J. Delaurio, David Plouffe, Patrick George, Adrian Covert, John Herrman, Nicholas Guido Denton, John Cook, Cardinal & Pine; Pacronym, Acronym; The Americano; Investing in US; Shadow Inc; Courier Newsroom; IN-Q-Tel; Gawker Media; Jalopnik; Gizmodo Media; K2 Intelligence; WikiStrat; Podesta Group; Fusion GPS; Google; YouTube; Alphabet; Facebook; Twitter; Think Progress; Media Matters); Black Cube; Correct The Record; Orbis Business Intelligence, Undercover Global Ltd; Stratfor; Jigsaw; ShareBlue/Acronym; Versa LLC; American Ledger; Supermajority News; New Venture Fund; Sixteen Thirty Fund; Cambridge Analytica; Sid Blumenthal; States Newsroom; Hopewell Fund; Open Society.; David Brock; AmpliFire News; American Bridge; Plouffe Consulting; Pantsuit Nation; MotiveAI; American Bridge 21st Century Foundation; Priorities USA; PR Firm Sunshine Sachs; The American Independent Foundation; Covington and Burling; Buzzfeed; The American Independent; Perkins Coie; Secondary Infektion; Wilson Sonsini and the other hired character assassins hired by Senators and the White House.
'Hit-Men' like Daniel Jones, Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, Robert Gibbs, Jay Carney, Micheal Sussman, Steve Jurvetson, Sid Blumenthal, Glenn Simpson, David Brock, Ian Fette, and their kind, sell media murder in exchange for stocks, cash and covert compensation. They should be arrested for their organized attacks on whistle-blowers. The FBI evidence from those interviews and investigations will confirm the assertions herein.
Senators stock market payola deals are launched daily through a secretive "Trigger Flag" system arranged via special "political intelligence" operatives who act as stock market bribery middlemen. Federal law enforcement has been ordered, By The White House, to NOT arrest Senators, particularly those from California, for doing this kind of crime.
“Conflicted Congress,” a five-month Insider investigation, found 48 members of Congress and 182 senior-level congressional staffers have violated the “STOCK” Act. The 2012 federal conflict-of-interest law requires members and staff to disclose their stock trades and seeks to prevent those in the halls of power from personally cashing in on the information they learn behind closed doors.
The investigation found dozens of cases of lawmakers trading stocks in industries and companies, like big tech firms, pharmaceutical companies, and fossil fuel producers, that they directly oversee or have publicly criticized.
“We need both tougher laws and enforcement of those laws,” the Massachusetts Democrat told Insider in an interview at the Capitol. “The American people should never have to guess whether or not an elected official is advancing an issue or voting on a bill based on what’s good for the country or what’s good for their own personal financial interests.”
Warren called out the “brazenness of people who think it’s okay to be in a position of trust to represent the people of this country, and at the same time to be working to advance your own financial interests,” adding, “it’s just wrong.”
When it comes to financial wrongdoing, Congress acts as its own policeman, resulting in little accountability and massive cover-ups in many cases.
Warren, a consumer protection lawyer who taught at Harvard Law School, has consistently advocated for stronger financial transparency requirements for members of Congress and government officials. In 2020, she re-introduced a bill to ban members of Congress from trading individual stocks.
Warren told Insider that for now, the solution “starts with just enforcement.”
Musk was named Time’s 2021 “Person of the Year” after Musk’s PR people paid off Time editors. At the time, Warren tweeted: “Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else.”. Democrats including Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) decried the choice of Musk for the Time honor. Both accused the billionaire of not paying his fair share in taxes. “We can’t believe Time Magazine just named Elon Musk its ‘Person of the Year,’” Jayapal said in a statement. “The richest person in the world and yet he avoids paying his taxes while working families struggle to put food on the table and pay rent.”
Musk surpassed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as the richest man in the world this year. His net worth is over $290 billion.
According to a report released by ProPublica in June, the billionaire paid $68,000 in federal income taxes in 2015, $65,000 in 2017 and no federal income taxes in 2018.
Brown accused Musk of “union-busting” following a 2019 National Labor Relations Board ruling that Tesla acted illegally for firing an employee pushing to unionize.
“A billionaire who has been found guilty of illegal union-busting [National Labor Relations Board] should probably not be @TIME’s Person of the Year,” Brown tweeted.
The back and forth between the businessman and the senator comes the same day that six current and former Tesla employees filed a lawsuit in Alameda County, Calif., alleging sexual harassment in the workplace and after another murder victim was found in Tesla’s factory.
“Bring the charges, pull them out. Make it clear publicly,” she said. “The strongest enforcement is to make known what they are doing and for the voters to retire them forcibly.”
One of the most powerful lawmakers in the U.S. defended the right of congresspeople to trade stocks. She, Feinstein, Reid, Harris and other California politicians own Silicon Valley companies Google, Facebook, Netflix, Apple, Facebook, Tesla, SpaceX and YouTube and get them federal cash. They defund their competitors and put hit-jobs on those competitors, who are their own constituents. These politicians block government actions that would regulate these companies and laws designed to control the corruption and public safety hazards of these companies.
When asked about the issue during a press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that “We’re a free market economy” and lawmakers “should be able to participate in that.” That reply was an insincere, pandering, smoke-screen of a lie!, as the evidence shows.
Pelosi’s own stock portfolio, which gained over $65 million in value between 2019 and 2021, has often been the subject of scrutiny. The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which was passed in 2012, is designed to combat insider trading by lawmakers, who many across the spectrum argue have too much access to inside information to be able to trade stocks ethically. In October, the Federal Reserve banned its officials from owning individual stocks. In March 2020, four senators were accused of insider trading and investigated by the Justice Department when they sold off stocks ahead of the COVID-19-induced economic downturn.
Voices across the spectrum, especially on the right but also on the left, criticized Pelosi’s comments and questioned her position. Many argue that lawmakers since have access to information that the public does not, and because they also have the ability to write and pass policy, they shouldn’t be allowed to buy and sell individual stocks and other assets. Some on the right highlighted silence from other progressives in response to Pelosi’s statement despite their previous opposition to the practice.
Nancy Pelosi owns more than $500,000 in Apple stock, according to her financial disclosure reports. Pelosi is also the speaker of the House. Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike have introduced multiple antitrust bills that would affect Big Tech companies.
The CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, called Pelosi personally in June and told her not to move ahead on these bills. The House Judiciary Committee passed six of these bills in June. Not one of them has seen movement on the House floor in six months, with some reports pinning the inaction on the speaker.
Back in January, Pelosi’s husband, Paul, bought at least a quarter million in “call” options for Apple, which is a more sophisticated way of betting on a stock going up in value.
Paul Pelosi also bought at least half a million in call options for Tesla, which stood to get subsidized by the Build Back Better bill his wife shepherded through the House.
The Pelosis are already very rich, and nobody but the Pelosis themselves knows the motivations of Nancy Pelosi or the calculations of Paul Pelosi. But still, it ought to raise eyebrows that the speaker of the House keeps taking actions that benefit her stock portfolio.
Yet Pelosi said on Wednesday that there should be no restrictions on her ability to buy and sell stocks in the companies she’s regulating, subsidizing, protecting, and taxing.
Pelosi, says lawmakers/Capitol staff shouldn’t be prohibited from trading stock: “This is a free market, we are a free market economy, they should be able to participate in that.”
— Mariana Alfaro (@marianaa_alfaro) December 15, 2021
This is especially rich because Pelosi has a long history of entangling her policymaking with her family’s profit-making.
Peter Schweizer, in his book Throw Them All Out, documented how Pelosi and her husband have gained insider status and made millions betting on companies that were directly involved in pending legislation.
Back in 2009, I wrote about businessman William Hambrecht, who went into business with Paul Pelosi, hired Paul Jr., and finagled a Financial Services Committee hearing on legislation that would increase business for Hambrecht’s company.
Congressmen and senators and their husbands and wives should be barred from buying and selling stocks, if not owning stocks. At the least, the stocks should be held in a blind trust. Better they should have to divest all their stocks and roll the money into a few select mutual funds.
Maybe we should compensate them for this sacrifice by paying them more, but the people subsidizing, regulating, taxing, exempting, and protecting corporations shouldn’t at the same time be investing in them.
The truth is that no one should trade individual stocks, unless you want to lose your money. Just put what you can in an index fund, and you’ll be fine.
But unlike you, members of Congress are often privy to information the general public doesn’t have, and when they trade on that information, it creates serious conflicts of interest.
Only occasionally is a member of Congress found guilty of that kind of securities fraud; former representative Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) was in 2019. The California Senators sabotaged Zap, Fisker, XP, Apterra and a host of competitors to Tesla because those Senators own Tesla and are financed by Elon Musk. These Senators sabotaged their own constituents in order to profiteer on those Senator’s covert insider trading stock.
When a U.S. senator frantically dumps $1.6 million in stocks just before the market tanks because of the pandemic (and calls his brother-in-law, who immediately dumps his own stocks), people might conclude that their elected representatives must be corrupt.
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to this problem: Ban members of Congress and staffers from trading individual stocks. For the time they serve in Congress, they can put their holdings into mutual funds.
It isn’t like that’s some kind of hardship unless they are crooks. Over time, the stock market tends to rise! They’ll make money.
A better way to look at this issue might be to ask why it’s important for members of Congress to be allowed to trade individual stocks. Is this some kind of foundational freedom that no American should be denied even for a temporary period? Did generations of brave American service members lay down their lives so your congressman could take a chance on Tesla shares going up next year?
Being a lawmaker is a privilege and a public trust. And it comes with some sacrifices. This doesn’t seem like a particularly onerous one, and it would be easier to enforce than the Stock Act — which doesn’t seem to get much enforcement at all. No complex reporting requirements, no deadlines, and no questions about whether a trade really was based on nonpublic information. Just a simple rule that says that as long as you’re in Congress you can’t buy or sell individual stocks.
The corruption in politics involving stock market payola is MAFIA level crime that the politicians make special laws to exclude themselves from arrest over.
The United States Department of Energy is comprised of two groups of people: One group are the fresh-faced naive college kids, hired on the cheap, often relatives of insiders, who were just plucked out of some Ivy League frat house. They sincerely believe they are working on social justice things and woke energy-for-all schemes. The other group are the old bosses and insiders who own the stock market stocks of each and every company they regulate and fund. The old bosses have all been promised revolving door payola bribe jobs in each and every company they regulate and fund. Old bosses with sign-off authority are friends with the current seated President in the White House, who covertly approves all of the old boss decisions via a web of relay aides. The college kids do vast amounts of work, calculations, studies and reports but everything they do is shoved into a box in storage and ignored if it competes with or reduces the valuation of the venture capital companies that funded the President’s political campaign. So these nerd kids do all this work, that is never actually considered, because the old bosses will never allow anything to get funded or supported that competes with the President’s campaign financiers. The nerd kids are fired, or transferred to the mail room, as soon as they look like they are starting to figure out how the scam works.
For example, Obama and Biden’s political financiers own all of the lithium mines in the world. Toyota and Honda fuel cell cars make those lithium mines obsolete. The kids at DOE found that there is not enough lithium in the world to cover more than a small percentage of the electric cars in the Obama/Biden plan and that almost all the lithium is in countries that will do anything to screw over the U.S. To get that lithium, child slave labor is used and the lithium batteries blow up as they age and the smoke from their fires causes cancer. The U.S. lithium supply inside the U.S. is so minimal that it barely counts. By the time the lithium gets into all the cars, the cars will cost so much, nobody will buy them. Toyota, KIA and Honda fuel cell cars get their hydrogen from water and organic waste, which is endless. World lithium is already running out, but the DOE old bosses are pushing it to make the White House financiers happy. The United States Department of Energy is not a “Department”, it is a political slush-fund!