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Report: Congress, Staff Violated Conflict-of-Interest Laws With Personal Finances

An analysis of Congressmen’s personal financial records has revealed that many have committed violations of conflict-of interest laws, while others have invested in the industries covered by their jurisdiction.

Business Insider published the damning report as a summary of five months-long investigations.

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.”

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Corruption?

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.”

Dianne Feinstein (D–CA) and Tommy Tuberville, (R-AL) are two of the senators rated as red.

They note that Feinstein has been found guilty of violating the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK) Act, for a transaction exceeding $15,000; her staff is also found guilty of three of these 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 has also submitted 132 late disclosures to the STOCK Act.

Both legislators have stated they had paid the applicable fines due to violations.

In total, there are 8 Republican lawmakers and 6 Democrat lawmakers rated as ‘danger.’ Another 113 – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, are rated borderline.

Nancy Pelosi (D.CA), and Mitch McConnell(R-KY), are both in the “borderline” category.

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Additional Violations

Noting that the STOCK Act only became effective in 2012, it seems pertinent to mention that many of the larger lawmaker names in Congress had years to build their personal wealth.

And it doesn’t seem to take into account financial transactions within family, only trading issues.

This report rates Maxine Waters, D-CA), as solid.

Waters paid more than $1 million in campaign cash to her daughter, according to disclosures from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in January.

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.

Nevertheless, there are some significant results in the report about the personal financial situation of legislators.

“48 members of Congress and 182 senior-level congressional staffers who have violated a federal conflicts-of-interest law,” Business Insider writes.

This shocking revelation is found in pandemic news:

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.

A Moderna stock share traded at $20 in January 2020. In September 2021, it reached its peak at $455 per share. It trades at 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.”

No matter what your political affiliations may be, the report shows that lawmakers’ primary concern is their personal financial well-being, and not those of their constituents.

 

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