Skip to comments.With no law in place on conflicts of interest, investments don't stop lawmakers from voting
Posted on 07/06/2008 5:34:43 PM PDT by STARWISE
The law is full of exceptions, and when it comes to conflicts of interest involving personal investments, Congress found a big one:
It didn't write a law.
While Congress prescribed a strict conflict-of-interest law for the judiciary, which prompted Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to remove himself from a punitive-damages case involving Exxon Mobil, it didn't apply the same test to lawmakers.
That has allowed Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to oppose bills that would hurt Irving-based Exxon, in which Ms. Hutchison owns stock valued between $100,000 and $250,000, according to disclosure reports.
Some experts say different rules apply to lawmakers because legislative policy is general in nature, whereas judges and federal agencies often decide matters that affect only a few parties.
Senate rules generally trust that senators act in the public interest, even if they have a financial stake in legislation, said Wilson R. Abney, a former staff director of the Senate Ethics Committee. A senator's personal finances are generally considered irrelevant unless there is proof thawHt a legislator's action was motivated by personal enrichment.
The rules are tighter for executive-branch officials, who can't write regulations if they own stock worth more than $25,000 in an affected company.
"Members have, in effect, created tougher rules for the executive branch than they have for themselves," Mr. Wertheimer said. "The circumstances are different, so there is a justification for it. But there probably is not a justification for the complete laxness of those [Senate] rules."
(Excerpt) Read more at dallasnews.com ...
They skee-rew us at every turn, while profiting massively on our time and payroll.
Any mention of Senator Feinstein in this article and her grievous conflict of interest in pushing govt pork towards her husband’s company or is this just another hit piece on a Republican? Don’t answer, I’m pretty sure I know the answer.
Another tidbit, different source:
” Forty-six husbands and wives of Congress members reported owning stock in 2006 in companies that have a vested interest in their spouses committees, worth a total of $27.3 million to $46.7 million, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics has found.
The list includes spouses who own stock in Lockheed Martin while the lawmaker sits on the House Armed Services Committee; or are invested in food giant SYSCO while the lawmaker is a member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee; or own shares of Exxon Mobil while married to a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee
In 2006, the most recent year for which CRP has been able to analyze personal financial disclosure data, the spouses of Democratic lawmakers had more invested in companies related to their committees (worth at least $23.2 million) than the lawmakers themselves did (worth at least $5.5 million).
The spouses of Republican lawmakers, by contrast, had less money invested in companies related to these committees (worth at least $4.1 million) than the lawmakers themselves (worth at least $39 million).
Overall, 304 congressional husbands and wives whose finances were reported on their spouses forms were worth between $698.8 million and $1.3 billion from their stocks, corporate bonds and other investments in 2006.
(Assets and liabilities are disclosed in ranges on these forms, making it impossible to calculate net worth precisely.)
The most popular spousal assets overall included General Electric, drugmaker Pfizer and Bank of America.
In at least 61 cases, the husbands and wives of Congress had investment portfolios worth significantly more than the lawmakers.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, for example, reported assets worth no more than $15,000, while her husband, Paul, an investor, had between $16.2 million and $57.8 million in assets.
Spouses also bring with them their mortgages, school loans and other liabilities, however. For Paul Pelosi, this could mean up to $10.3 million in debt, more than any other lawmakers spouse.”
The misleading dollar ranges and time delay in the diversionary reporting of their investments/finances has GOT TO STOP!
Congress Has Wealth to Weather Economic Downturn
Published by Communications on March 13, 2008 5:40 PM |
As Americans worry about their own finances, their elected representatives in Washingtonwith a collective net worth of $3.6 billionare mostly in good shape to withstand a recession.
WASHINGTONEconomists say the United States may be in a recession, but the personal finances of members of Congress suggest they will be able to weather the storm far better than most Americans, according to a new analysis of three years of lawmakers’ personal financial reports by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
U.S. senators had a median net worth of approximately $1.7 million in 2006, the most recent year for which their financial data is available, and 58 percent of the Senate’s members could be considered millionaires. In the House of Representatives, the median net worth was about $675,000, with 44 percent of members having net worths estimated to be at least $1 million. By contrast, only about 1 percent of all American adults had a net worth greater than $1 million around the same time.1
Before the American economy showed signs last year of slowing down, lawmakers had enjoyed an extraordinary run in their personal investments and other finances. Members of Congress, who are now paid about $169,000 annually, saw
their net worths soar
***84 percent from 2004 to 2006,***
[Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, for example, reported assets worth no more than $15,000, while her husband, Paul, an investor, had between $16.2 million and $57.8 million in assets.]
California is a Community Property state. She has 1/2 the family worth. Where am I wrong?
Ping to 7: Pelosi’s stated/actual assets.
They get elected and go to DC to obtain power and money, lots and lots of money. And they succeed. Not one of them intends to retire to a middle class life.
One of my favorite examples is Bob Dole. Married to a perfectly wonderful wife, but she was never going to be part of a DC “power couple,” so he divorced her and married Liddy Dole and from all I can tell, they have spent their married life making sure they have a very rich and comfortable life.
Liddy shows up on the Senate floor occasionally when it suits some purpose or other, but I swear that the rest of the time she is back in her office doing deals.
Bob visited Russell, Kansas whenever he was seeking re-election. Otherwise, he had no time for it.
Yes term-limits. But this writer is onto something I said many times in the last two years: As long as policymakers have the ability to legislate or non-legislate but STILL able to invest in any of America’s critical infrastructure’s you’ll always will have bad policy. Energy is such a recent example but agriculture has been played with for 70+ years since the Great Depression days.
Bill Clinton signed a bunch of executive orders before he left office siphoning off a ton of land as off limits to business. The Clinton’s net worth was $3 M leaving office, but now it is $100 M. Gee, wonder what happened? I guess he gets paid $3 M per speaking engagement.
30 years of no energy independance. You will see little to none until either heads are hanging on pikes or laws are created that forbids investment into things like food, real-estate, energy and defense, the basics of life and necessary for our nations survival for 2 years prior, during and 2 years after term (includes family).
They all make my blood just boil.
In FL, after Hurricane Andrew’s devastation, the succeeding years were followed by many scam and crook construction guys, taking insurance money “deposits” and then disappearing.
The curse word of that miserable time was: roofer.
The dirtiest word to me anymore is: politician.
You mean like Blanche Lincoln, Senator from Arkansas who owns a several thousand acre farm in NE Arkansas who directly benefits from the farm subsidies she not only votes for, but cosponsors?
Nahhh... No conflict of interest there. Move along, nothing to see.