Feb 10, 2022 - Economy

The Senate’s top stock traders

Senators with the most financial trades
Note: Trades do not include non-public stocks or exchanges. Excludes senators no longer in Congress Data: Senate Stock Watcher; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) disclosed 417 stock purchases and sales since January 2020 — more than any other current senator, according to an Axios analysis of data from the Senate Stock Watcher.

Why it matters: Rare bipartisan support is building around efforts to ban lawmakers from owning and trading individual stocks — as well as their spouses or immediate family members, in some cases.

By the numbers: Two out of three trades disclosed by the top 10 senators involved assets marked as owned by only the senator’s spouse or children.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) had the most trades of $500,000 or more — 35.

  • All of those transactions were in more broad-based securities or bonds, as opposed to individual stocks. Thirty-four of the 35 trades belonged to his spouse, Ann.
  • The majority of the trades associated with Carper and Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) over the two years were smaller, in the $1,000-$15,000 bucket.
  • Only one of Carper's trades exceeded $50,000, while Tuberville had 26 such transactions.

Between the lines: When including senators no longer in office, former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) would have been the leader, with 438 transactions disclosed in 2020.

  • Perdue was criticized for his stock trades and had reportedly been under investigation by the Justice Department.
  • He lost his re-election race to Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), which was key in Democrats gaining 50-50 control of the Senate. Ossoff is now among those who are leading individual stock-ban efforts, as Axios has reported.

Details: The Senate Stock Watcher compiles reports filed by senators and presents them in a manner more readable than the original PDFs.

  • 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 figures include bonds and mutual fund investments, although the vast majority of transactions among the top 10 senators or their close relatives was in individual stocks.

What they're saying: Axios reached out to the offices of each senator in the accompanying graphic.

  • “Sen. Tuberville has long had financial advisers who actively manage his portfolio without his day-to-day involvement," a spokesperson told Axios.
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