conflict of interest

Multiple members of Congress initiated and profited from investments directly impacted by American military support for Ukraine.

The activity surrounded stock buying and/or selling from major defense contractors like Raytheon, and more.

The new revelations by Unusual Whales, a website dedicated to tracking public info and disclosures concerning investments, adds to info The Trends Journal reported on this past September (see “THE RAMPANT CORRUPTION OF ‘LEGAL’ CONGRESSIONAL STOCK TRADING HITS A NEW LOW”).

Among those who registered some level of involvement with either purchasing or selling military and defense-related stocks (sometimes via family members), as compiled by the Daily Caller and other sources, included:

Democrats Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR), now former Rep. Cindy Axne (IA), Rep. Dwight Evans (PA), Rep. Gerald Connolly (VA), Rep. Kathy Manning (NC), and Rep. Lois Frankel (FL);

Republicans Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Rep. John Rutherford (FL), Rep. Carol Miller (WV), Rep. Kevin Hern (OK), Sen. Tommy Tuberville (AL), and Sen. Deb Fischer (NE), who sold stock inherited from her mother.

Some who profited have nonetheless been opponents of U.S. military spending, voting no on spending measures, including Representatives Greene and Hern. Senator Tubberville voted against a May 2022 Ukraine spending package.

Greene has emerged as one of the most vocal opponents of U.S. military spending for Ukraine. 

Many others on the list, including virtually all Democrats, voted for Ukraine-related military spending in 2022. 

Some of the politicians identified for defense-related investments have said they have no involvement in the day-to-day management of their portfolios.

Conflicts and Cash Galore

News of lawmakers’ war profiteering was overshadowed by the recent fractious fight for Speaker of the House.

That battle arguably achieved some concessions by new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy that will be significant over the next two years.

But it pushed the story of Congressional military investment profiteering, and the more general problem of investing conflicts of politicians, out of the headlines.

That story, detailed extensively by Unusual Whales, deserves scrutiny.

Overall, the outlet noted that the asset class of stocks saw the most activity in 2022, with almost 400 million dollars worth bought and sold.

Government securities and agency debt (i.e. treasury bonds, municipal bonds, etc.) came in second, while securities such as mutual funds and ETFs placed third.

Both political parties had “star members” that led the way in terms of overall aggressive investment activity. On the Democrat side, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tom Carper (D-DE) were frontrunners.  

Republicans at the top of the dubious list included Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) and Michael McCaul (R-TX) in the House, and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and John Boozman (R-AR) in the Senate.

Unusual Whales noted that the attention it has brought to the issue has had some effect.

A bill was introduced in 2022 to restrict Congressional stock trading. But currently, politicians are still permitted to trade stocks.

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