The Washington Post

Why people hate Congress — in one chart

Congressional approval has resided in used car salesman/reporter/trial lawyer territory for the better part of the last few years as members of the House and Senate are increasingly regarded as out-of-touch by the men and women who elect them.

The growing sense in the country is that Members of Congress get special treatment, treatment not available to the average Joe. And, according to a Washington Post series called “Capitol Assets”, they do.

We were particularly struck by a chart that accompanied the latest piece in the series detailing the stock trading by Members of Congress on bills that passed through their committees.

From 2007 to 2010, 130 lawmakers made traded stocks or bonds in companies that lobbied on legislation that moved in their committees. That, according to the official Fix calculator, is almost one in every four members of the House in Senate. One in four!

Yes, the practice is legal under current ethics laws. But, it’s the sort of thing that reinforces peoples’ already low opinions of Congress.

The chart is below. Make sure to check out the whole series.


Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.

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