US Senators Have Invested Up To $96M In Stocks, Including Firms They Regulate
Dozens of U.S. senators and their spouses have invested up to $96 million in corporate stocks, in many cases putting their money into companies they are tasked with regulating, according to an analysis by Sludge and The Guardian.
Markets Insider reported that the investments are strewn across finance, defense, health, communications and electronics, and energy and natural resources companies.
While it is not against the law for lawmakers to own stocks in companies they regulate, the potential conflicts of interest are apparent.
As Insider noted: “Legislators are under mounting pressure to crack down on predatory lending, abuse of user data, climate change, sweetheart military deals, prescription drug prices and the opioid crisis. Senators' stakes in banks, tech giants, fossil-fuel companies, defense contractors, and healthcare giants could temper their desire to tackle those issues.”
The most popular stocks, according to the analysis, were Apple, Microsoft, Google-owner Alphabet, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and Wells Fargo.
Senator John Hoeven’s (R-ND) investment in Westbrand, a private holding company for banks, was the largest single investment with a worth falling between $5 million and $25 million.
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), who sits on the Senate housing and insurance subcommittees, holds between $1 million and $5 million worth of stock in the private real estate insurance firm, the report found.
A total of nine senators on the Senate banking committee hold stocks in the financial industry, including Senators Doug Jones (D-AL), John Kennedy (R-LA), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ).