Feb 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

The House’s top stock traders

House representatives with most stock transactions
Note: Excludes representatives no longer in Congress. Data: House Stock Watcher; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) has reported more stock purchases and sales during the past two years than any other member of the U.S. House of Representatives, according to an Axios analysis of data from the House Stock Watcher.

Why it matters: Bipartisan momentum is building around legislation that would ban lawmakers from owning and trading individual stocks. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now backing some of the efforts after long fighting stock bans, as was reported on Wednesday.

Yes, but: The devil is in the details.

  • There are several potential bans being proposed, and some measures would be stricter than others — including banning spouses and other immediate relatives of lawmakers from trading stock, as well.
  • Pelosi's husband, Paul, has made millions from stock trades.

By the numbers: The House Stock Watcher compiles reports filed by members and presents them in a manner more readable than the original PDFs.

  • Of the top 10 House members who've made the most trades in the past two years, seven are Democrats.
  • Gottheimer mostly traded stock in the tech sector — $75 million out of $81 million in sales and purchases — and the vast majority of his transactions were in the lowest $1,000-$15,000 range.
  • “Prior to taking office, Josh turned over management of his portfolio to a third party and only receives statements of prior transactions," a spokesperson told Axios.
  • While Nancy Pelosi didn't make the top 10 for the number of individual transactions she has had to disclose, 33 of the 57 transactions — made by her husband — were over $500,000. That included 11 over $1 million.

Between the lines: The data accounts for stock information reported by members of Congress as mandated by the 2012 STOCK Act. The law was intended to prevent insider trading and conflicts of interest.

  • The data does include bonds and mutual fund investments, although the vast majority of transactions among the top 10 members or their spouses was in individual stocks.
  • A Business Insider investigation, however, found at least 55 members of Congress who failed to properly report stock trades in 2021.
  • Reps. Susie Lee (D-Nev.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) and Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) all violated the STOCK Act last year in some way, and are also in the top 10 members for stock trades.

What they're saying: Axios reached out to the offices of each member in the accompanying graphic. Spokespersons for Hern and Rep. Donald Beyer (D-Va.) told Axios the members do not personally manage or control stock purchases or sales.

  • The stocks for Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) stocks are owned by his wife.
  • Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) is also one of only 10 members of Congress with a blind trust.

What to watch: We will examine the stock trading by senators in Thursday's Sneak Peek newsletter.

Editor’s note: This piece was corrected to show Gottheimer had disclosed $81 million of sales and purchases over two years, not $81 million of investments.

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