Fox News posted an article today about four Congressmen who are taking advantage of the coronavirus epidemic for personal gain. What they are doing gives us insight into how Congressmen can enter Congress as middle-class Americans and be millionaires four years later.
The article reports:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and three of her Senate colleagues reported selling off stocks worth millions of dollars in the days before the coronavirus outbreak crashed the market, according to reports.
The data is listed on a U.S. Senate website containing financial disclosures from Senate members.
Feinstein, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and her husband sold between $1.5 million and $6 million in stock in California biotech company Allogene Therapeutics, between Jan. 31 and Feb. 18, The New York Times reported.
Feinstein defended herself in a series of tweets on Friday, saying she has “no control” over her assets and the stocks in question were her husband’s transactions.
“During my Senate career I’ve held all assets in a blind trust of which I have no control. Reports that I sold any assets are incorrect, as are reports that I was at a January 24 briefing on coronavirus, which I was unable to attend,” she tweeted.
“Under Senate rules I report my husband’s financial transactions. I have no input into his decisions. My husband in January and February sold shares of a cancer therapy company. This company is unrelated to any work on the coronavirus and the sale was unrelated to the situation.”
When questioned by the newspaper, a spokesman for the Democrat from San Francisco also said Feinstein wasn’t directly involved in the sale.
“All of Senator Feinstein’s assets are in a blind trust,” the spokesman, Tom Mentzer, told the Times. “She has no involvement in her husband’s financial decisions.”
The article names the other Congressmen who took similar actions:
Reports identified the three other senators as Richard Burr of North Carolina, Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, all Republicans.
Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, used more than 30 transactions to dump between $628,000 and $1.72 million on Feb. 13, according to ProPublica.
The report said the transactions involved a significant percentage of the senator’s holdings and took place about a week before the impact of the virus outbreak sent stock prices plunging to the point where gains made during President Trump’s term in office were largely erased.
All of the Congressmen have the same story–I was not directly involved in the transactions, yet these transactions are suspiciously timed. I wonder if Congressmen should be banned from altering their stock portfolios in any way while they are serving in Congress. They might not like doing that, but it would be one way to end this sort of suspicious activity. Foregoing trading stocks while in office would be a small price to pay to insure the honesty of those who serve in Congress.