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NEW REPORT: 49 Members Of Congress Violated Insider Trading Laws!


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Business Insider has launched a brand new series of articles and reports called “Conflicted Congress” which reveal the ABSOLUTELY STUNNING AMOUNT of ethical violations and conflicts of interest that lurk throughout the halls of Congress and within it’s distinguished members.

You may think you know how bad it is, but until actually seeing it quantified in front of you, you can’t comprehend how pervasive the Washington cronyism really is.

What this new project reveals is truly mind-blowing. I can’t just tell you. You need to see this.

So sit back and enjoy. Let’s dive in.

Insider’s new investigative reporting project, “Conflicted Congress,” chronicles the myriad ways members of the US House and Senate have eviscerated their own ethical standards, avoided consequences, and blinded Americans to the many moments when lawmakers’ personal finances clash with their public duties.

In all, Insider spent hundreds of hours over five months reviewing nearly 9,000 financial-disclosure reports for every sitting lawmaker and their top-ranking staffers. Reporters conducted hundreds of interviews, including those with some of the nation’s most powerful leaders.

Here are the Big Picture findings. I’ll highlight some of my favorites.

  • 49 members of Congress and 182 senior-level congressional staffers who have violated a federal conflicts-of-interest law.

  • Nearly 75 federal lawmakers who held stocks in COVID-19 vaccine makers Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or Pfizer in 2020, with many of them buying or selling these stocks in the early weeks of the pandemic.

  • 15 lawmakers tasked with shaping US defense policy that actively invest in military contractors.

  • More than a dozen environmentally-minded Democrats who invest in fossil fuel companies or other corporations with concerning environmental track records.

  • Members who regularly chide “the media” but personally pour their money into at least one of the nation’s largest news media or social media companies, including Facebook, Twitter, Comcast, Disney, and the New York Times Co.

  • 16 lawmakers who buy and hold tobacco company stock, including some who have publicly fought smoking.

  • Senators, House members, and top Capitol Hill staffers who will help decide whether the government regulates cryptocurrency — and are themselves invested in bitcoin and altcoins.

Believe it or not, Congress passed a bill back in 2012 called the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK).

What a joke right?

The act was geared towards increasing the transparency of Congressional financial reporting, specifically when it came to stock trades. Members are supposed to immediately report all transactions placed by themselves, a spouse, or dependent child.

As you probably guessed, there have been no shortage of violations of the STOCK Act but mishaps were chalked up to clerical errors or incompetent accountants.

If the STOCK Act was a true deterrent, then why did SEVENTY-FIVE members of Congress hold stock in Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or Pfizer in the early days of COVID. Many conducted transactions within that same time frame.

Seems like that’s basically right in our faces.

And there are supposed to be consequences for those violations:

While lawmakers who violate the STOCK Act face a fine, the penalty is usually small — $200 is the standard amount — or waived by House or Senate ethics officials. Ethics watchdogs and even some members of Congress have called for stricter penalties or even a ban on federal lawmakers from trading individual stocks, although neither has come to pass

Let’s take a look at just a small sample of some of these STOCK Act violations, per Business Insider:

Can you spot any conflicts?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) took months to report her husband’s five-figure deal in a youth-focused polling company.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) was weeks and months late reporting nearly 130 stock trades from January-May.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was 16 months late in disclosing that his wife bought stock in a biopharmaceutical company that manufactures an antiviral COVID-19 treatment.

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), a retired astronaut, failed to disclose on time his exercising of a stock option on an investment in a company that’s developing a supersonic passenger aircraft

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), failed to disclose dozens of stock trades made during 2020 and early 2021, doing so only after questions from Insider.

The Office of Congressional Ethics found “substantial reason to believe” that Malinowski violated federal rules or laws designed to promote transparency and defend against conflicts. It voted 5-1 to refer its findings to the Democrat-led House Committee on Ethics, which confirmed on October 21 that it will continue reviewing the matter.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) who is running for US Senate, failed to properly disclose a sale of Pfizer stock worth up to $50,000.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) was late disclosing several stock trades he made in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) was late disclosing that he had purchased up to $100,000 in stock in an aerospace company. The president of the company had just testified before a congressional subcommittee on which Mast sits.

Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA) was more than two months late disclosing that her husband purchased up to $1 million in Apple Inc. stock, Sludge and Forbes reported. Schrier’s office told Insider that the congresswoman was initially unaware of the transaction.

Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) Suozzi failed to file required reports on about 300 financial transactions, NPR reported, citing research from the Campaign Legal Center.

(Whoa, 300 is a lot!)

Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) Welch, an outspoken environmentalist, was late disclosing the sale of his wife’s ExxonMobil stock.

(Wow, ExxonMobil hates the environment but maybe that’s why she sold?)

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) was a few days late in disclosing four of his stock transactions that included pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson.

Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) was late disclosing his wife’s purchase of a corporate bond in cloud computing and technology company VMWare, worth between $15,001 and $50,000, Forbes reported. “We have no comment,” Lowenthal spokesman Keith Higginbotham told Insider on November 18.

There are some others mixed in there that you can read for yourself if you’d like. Those are just the ones that stood out.

We need reform and accountability, and we need it yesterday!

Now, if I haven’t lost you yet and you haven’t stormed off in a fit of rage, let’s take a look at some of the wealthiest members of Congress, as reported.

Looking at these dollar figures solidifies these people have absolutely nothing in common with us.

Mark Warner is worth $93 Million Dollars.

You really think he cares about you?

The Military Industrial Complex has always been one of the murkiest sections of the swamp. It’s a deeply entrenched club and you ain’t in it.

I’ll include a couple of examples that stick out.

In 2020:

…at least 15 lawmakers who hold powerful positions on a pair of House and Senate committees that control US military policy have financial ties to prominent defense contractors that together were worth nearly $1 million in 2020

And throughout 2021, both Democrats and Republicans serving on the congressional Armed Services committees have continued to invest in or cash out of the most important players in the military and defense industry.

Some of the world-renowned weapons makers and defense-technology developers peppered across the committee members’ financial disclosures were Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Co., Raytheon Technologies Corp., Honeywell, and General Electric. All are companies that also annually spend millions of dollars lobbying the federal government to prod elected officials, shape policy, and win lucrative government contracts.


Atop the list is the 16-term Rep. Jim Cooper, a Democrat of Tennessee who chairs the House panel’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee. He reported owning up to $65,000 worth of stock in General Electric at the end of 2020, with up to $50,000 worth of it held in a tax-favored individual retirement account and up to $15,000 worth held in a brokerage account established for one of his children.


The wife of Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California, Ritu Khanna, invested up to several hundred thousand dollars in a collection of defense contractor stocks at some point in 2020, including Boeing, General Dynamics, General Electric, Honeywell, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon. Ro Khanna served on the House Armed Services Committee then, as he does now in his third term as a member of Congress.


Across the aisle, Republican Rep. Pat Fallon, a freshman of Texas who secured a coveted spot on the armed-services panel upon his arrival on Capitol Hill, reported buying and selling up to $1.4 million worth of Boeing stock this year, much of it between January and April. He also reported owning up to $50,000 worth of stock in General Electric.

Thanks for sticking with me there through the end.

I can’t lie, I’m pretty exhausted after wading my way through that.

Feel like I need a shower now.

Maybe after that I’ll run for Congress.



 

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