The decade's most triggering comedy
Members of Congress and their immediate families exchanged more than $630 million in stocks this year.
A report from The New York Times’ DealBook — based upon research conducted by Capitol Trades — revealed that asset purchases amounted to $267 million, while sales amounted to $364 million:
About 60 percent of these trades were in company stocks, with the rest split among funds, bonds and other assets. Republicans bought $100 million worth of stocks this year, versus $75 million for Democrats, according to the average of ranges that lawmakers provide in filings.
Politicians from the two major parties displayed distinct portfolio preferences:
Democrats are really into tech stocks, which accounted for some $35 million, or nearly half of all purchases by the group (versus only 14 percent for Republicans). Microsoft was the most popular big-ticket buy: The husband of Representative Suzan DelBene of Washington is a former Microsoft executive who sold between $5 million and $25 million in the company’s stock in October, which she reported past the 45-day deadline, prompting criticism. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband is a real estate and venture capital investor who is active on the stock market, making a pair of million-dollar purchases of Microsoft stock during the year, among other trades.
Republicans are more about energy, buying $32 million worth of stock in companies in the sector during the year, about a third of all purchases (versus a mere 1 percent for Democrats). Representative Mark Green of Tennessee was associated with many of the biggest energy trades, spreading six-figure purchases across a range of firms.
According to The New York Times, members of Congress also traded $26 million in stock options and $300,000 in cryptocurrencies.
The report comes days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) disregarded questions on Wednesday as to why lawmakers should be allowed to trade individual stocks.
“Madam Speaker, Insider just completed a five‑month investigation finding that 49 Members of Congress and 182 senior Congressional staffers have violated the STOCK Act, the insider trading law,” noted a reporter on Wednesday. “I’m wondering if you have any reaction to that.”
“And secondly, should Members of Congress and their spouses be banned from trading individual stocks while serving in Congress?” the reporter asked.
“No, I don’t — no, to the second one. Any — we have a responsibility to report in the stock — on the stock,” Pelosi responded. “But I don’t — I’m not familiar with that five month review, but if the people aren’t reporting, they should be.”
“Why shouldn’t they be banned?” the reporter pressed.
“Because this is a free market and people — we are a free market economy,” Pelosi responded. “They should be able to participate in that.”
Earlier this year, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell ordered an ethics review after regional officials made large stock trades during the 2020 recession. For instance, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan held Apple, Amazon, Boeing, Alphabet, and Facebook stock, while Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren held stock in Pfizer, Chevron, and AT&T.
Following the review, the central bank concluded that senior policymakers — including the twelve reserve bank presidents and seven governors — will be subject to a more stringent set of rules for their personal portfolios, including a ban on purchasing individual securities.