It has been revealed through media reports that US Senators, in fact, have glaring conflicts of interests in portfolios that they hold. This was investigated over 51 senators who have found to have been invested into five primary sectors including communications/electronics; defense; energy and natural resources; finance, insurance, and real estate; and health.
The Guardian and a news website by the name of Sludge confirm that money to the tune of $96m remains personally invested in corporate stocks by various senators and their spouses as of August 16, ascertained through their personal disclosure data.
A majority of these investments are into public companies. Only a few are invested into private ones. There is no denying that today, senators are far wealthier than most constituents, and therefore command a prime position to increase wealth via policymaking.
Because congressional financial disclosures do not spell out exact numbers, the investment made by these senators falls into various ranges. The median stock investment range in the five sectors for the 51 senators is between $100,000 and $365,000, while the average range of the investments is between $551,000 and nearly $1,874,000.
While it is believed that it is not illegal for members of Congress to have made personal financial investments in industries on which they legislate, this kind of financial investments, are said to have a bearing over the process of decision making and does put the lawmakers’ motivations at risk.
This has been proven in the past, in case of Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer who made Manchin the ranking member of the committee. Senator Joe Manchin was heavily invested into coal, directly profiting from the environmentally devastating coal business. After being made a ranking member, he did not offload his investments making it an embarrassing choice for the Schumer.