Share:

Follow the Twitter conversation about this series at #capitolassets

Overlapping interests?

More than 100 members of Congress or their families traded stocks or bonds in companies lobbying on bills that passed through their committees, according to a Washington Post examination of congressional stock transactions between 2007 and 2010.

130 lawmakers traded stocks or bonds in companies
lobbying on bills that passed through their committees

    In 5,531 transactions

    So out of a total of 45,000 transactions analyzed, that's nearly one in eight trades . . .

      . . . or an average of 43 transactions per person.

      Involving 323 companies

      Percentage of transactions in the following sectors:

      Case studies

      An investigation, a stock sale

      During a congressional probe, four lawmakers sold all of their stock in GameStop, the nation's largest video game retailer — one of about 90 companies under scrutiny over alleged deceptive Internet billing practices.

      Bought GameStop stock

      Sold GameStop stock

      On May 27, 2009, the committee issued a news release announcing the inquiry, but it did not name GameStop.

      The committee issued its findings at a Nov. 17 hearing.

      Inquiry
      • 2008
      • 2009
      • 2010

      Smith, Isakson and McCaul were members of the Congressional Internet Caucus. Isakson sat on the investigating committee. Isakson, Smith and McCaul said they do not handle their investments and had nothing to do with the GameStop trades. Webb did not comment.

      May 27 Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.)

      June 18 Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)

      Aug. 25 Wife of Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.)

      Oct. 27 Wife of Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.)

      Sen. Tom Coburn, (R-Okla.)

      In 2007, Coburn placed a legislative hold on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, saying he wanted changes to address fears about exposing employers and insurance companies to lawsuits. Coburn reported buying bonds in a genetic technology company the day a compromise he sought was reached on the bill.

      See the overlap between the genetic technology company's lobbying forms and Coburn's financial transactions

      Legislation

      2007:
      Coburn placed hold on bill.

      April 22:
      Compromise reached. Coburn lifted hold.

      April 24:
      Coburn voted for the bill.

      • 2007
      • 2008

      April 22 and 23:
      Made three purchases totaling $25,000 in bonds from Affymetrix, one of 33 companies registered to lobby on the bill.

      Transactions

      Response

      Coburn said the Affymetrix purchases were made without his knowledge by his investment adviser. He said the timing was coincidental. His office said it has no record of any contact with Affymetrix.

      Rep. Ed Whitfield, (R-Ky.)

      The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was introduced Nov. 1, 2007. It was referred to a subcommittee on which Whitfield was the senior ranking Republican. In May 2008, Whitfield was appointed to the conference committee charged with sorting out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. During this period, Whitfield bought or sold a handful of stocks in companies that lobbied on the bill.

      Legislation

      Nov. 1, 2007:
      The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act introduced.

      May 14:
      Whitfield appointed to conference committee.

      July 30-31:
      Bill passed by House and Senate.

      Aug. 14:
      Bill signed into law.

      • 2007
      • 2008

      Transactions

      Response

      Whitfield's spokeswoman said Whitfield's legislative work is completely unrelated to his investments.

      May 5:
      Sold $50,000-
      $100,000 of General Electric.

      June 13: Bought $15,000-
      $50,000 in Apple.

      June 16: Bought $15,000-
      $50,000 in Proctor & Gamble.

      June 23: Bought $15,000-
      $50,000 in United Technologies.

      Aug. 11: Bought $15,000-
      $50,000 in Hewlett-Packard.

      SOURCE: Washington Post analysis of House and Senate lobbying and personal financial disclosures, Center for Responsive Politics (opensecrets.org), Govtrack.us. GRAPHIC: Wilson Andrews, Emily Chow, David Fallis, Dan Keating, Laura Stanton, Sisi Wei and Karen Yourish - The Washington Post. Published June 24, 2012.