May 21, 2022

‘Conflicted Congress’: Key findings from Insider’s five-month investigation into federal lawmakers’ personal finances

Courtesy:

  • Dozens of federal lawmakers and at least 182 top staffers have violated a conflict-of-interest law.
  • Numerous members of Congress personally invest in industries they oversee.
  • Few face serious consequences, legally or otherwise.

The nation is unabashedly polarized. Republicans and Democrats enjoy little goodwill and less commonality.

But in Washington, DC, a bipartisan phenomenon is thriving. Numerous members of Congress, both liberal and conservative, are united in their demonstrated indifference toward a law designed to quash corruption and curb conflicts-of-interest.

Insider’s new investigative reporting project, “Conflicted Congress,” chronicles the myriad ways members of the US House and Senate have eviscerated their own ethical standards, avoided consequences, and blinded Americans to the many moments when lawmakers’ personal finances clash with their public duties.  

In all, Insider spent hundreds of hours over five months reviewing nearly 9,000 financial-disclosure reports for every sitting lawmaker and their top-ranking staffers. Reporters conducted hundreds of interviews, including those with some of the nation’s most powerful leaders.  

Today, Insider published the first of more than two-dozen articles and data visualizations that will reveal the:

  • 48 members of Congress and 182 senior-level congressional staffers who have violated a federal conflicts-of-interest law.
  • Nearly 75 federal lawmakers who held stocks in COVID-19 vaccine makers Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or Pfizer in 2020, with many of them buying or selling these stocks in the early weeks of the pandemic.
  • 15 lawmakers tasked with shaping US defense policy that actively invest in military contractors.
  • More than a dozen environmentally-minded Democrats who invest in fossil fuel companies or other corporations with concerning environmental track records.
  • Members who regularly chide “the media” but personally pour their money into at least one of the nation’s largest news media or social media companies, including Facebook, Twitter, Comcast, Disney, and the New York Times Co.

Insider’s “Conflicted Congress” is also rating every member of Congress on their financial conflicts and commitment to financial transparency. Fourteen senators and House members have received a red “danger” rating on our three-tier stoplight scale, while 112 get a yellow “borderline” rating.

Throughout this week, “Conflicted Congress” will publish investigations into Congress’ tobacco ties, cryptocurrency plays, real estate investments, transparency avoidance, lax law enforcement, and crushing student loan debt. 

Other articles will reveal the 25 wealthiest members of Congress and where they put their money and the 50 most popular stock holdings among members of Congress.

Finally, Insider on Friday will publish an exclusive, searchable, and sortable database of all members of Congress’ personal finances, including their assets, debts, and sources of outside income. 

More at:

https://www.businessinsider.com/conflicted-congress-key-findings-stock-act-finances-investing-2021-12