A new analysis of the personal finances of members of Congress reveals dozens have violated conflict-of-interest laws while numerous others have personally invested in industries under their purview.
The damning report, a summation of a five-month-long investigation, was published by Business Insider.
The outlet describes the questionable financial transactions as a “bipartisan” problem in Washington.
The investigatory piece, titled “Conflicted Congress,” reveals “the myriad ways members of the US House and Senate have eviscerated their own ethical standards” and “avoided consequences.”
Lawmakers, along with over 182 top staffers, have “blinded Americans to the many moments” when their “personal finances clash with their public duties.”
‘Conflicted Congress’: Key findings from Insider’s five-month investigation into federal lawmakers’ personal finances https://t.co/mHUELPmsAg
— Insider (@thisisinsider) December 13, 2021
The report by the Business Insider ranks lawmakers by color, noting that green means they are in compliance with their personal finances while red indicates “that a member has multiple issues that could expose them to ethical problems.”
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Among those rated red in the Senate are Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).
Feinstein, they note, has a violation of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act for a transaction in excess of $15,000, while her staff has three such violations.
The STOCK Act prohibits members and employees of Congress from using “any nonpublic information derived from the individual’s position … or gained from performance of the individual’s duties, for personal benefit”
Tuberville meanwhile has 132 late disclosures under the STOCK Act.
Both lawmakers have said they paid any applicable fines for the violations in question.
Here’s a look at the 14 red danger members. You can click on each one to learn more. pic.twitter.com/o8RjSiei5H
— Darren Samuelsohn (@dsamuelsohn) December 13, 2021
In total, there are 8 Republican lawmakers and 6 Democrat lawmakers rated as ‘danger.’ Another 113 – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, are rated borderline.
Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) fall into the borderline category.
Dozens of federal lawmakers and at least 182 top congressional staffers are violating a federal conflict-of-interest law known as the STOCK Act. Others are failing to avoid clashes between their personal finances and public duties.https://t.co/SV7j2qVHBo pic.twitter.com/MFeUl80nhs
— Insider (@thisisinsider) December 13, 2021
It seems relevant to note that some of the bigger lawmaker names in Congress have had decades to accumulate their personal finances while the STOCK Act was only enacted in 2012.
And it doesn’t seem to take into account financial transactions within family, only trading issues.
Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) for example, is rated as solid in this report.
Waters paid more than $1 million in campaign cash to her daughter, according to disclosures from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in January.
Maxine Waters has given over $1 million in campaign cash to daughter, according to federal election data.https://t.co/fPs9phkxqI
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 30, 2021
Waters was named “one of the most corrupt members of Congress” in 2011 by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, yet receives a green rating here.
Still, the report on the personal finances of lawmakers yields several significant findings.
“48 members of Congress and 182 senior-level congressional staffers who have violated a federal conflicts-of-interest law,” Business Insider writes.
In pandemic-related news, there is this damning revelation:
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.
In early January of 2020, a share of Moderna stock traded below $20. It peaked in September of 2021 at $455 per share. It currently trades above $270.
On the hypocrisy front, Business Insider reports that over a dozen environmentally-minded Democrats have been revealed to invest in fossil fuel companies or other corporations with “concerning environmental track records.”
They add that lawmakers who regularly chide the media “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.”
Whatever your political leanings, this report makes it clear that personal finances are the number one concern of most lawmakers, not their constituents.
Now is the time to support and share the sources you trust.
The Political Insider ranks #15 on Feedspot’s “Top 70 Conservative Political Blogs, Websites & Influencers in 2021.”
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