The Daily Beast looked into it and, along with ethics experts raises the question why are Congressmen allowed to hold individual stocks?
The Tom Price conflict issues should have put this front and center, but I’m afraid the kind of self-reflective aversion to even the appearance of impropriety isn’t a thing anymore, certainly not among today’s Christianist Republicans who are more likely to be following Joel Osteen and the prosperity gospel (“Jesus wants you to be rich”!).
Forty Republican representatives who voted for the American Health Care Act held shares in health care companies valued at $23 million and earned more than $2 million off those investments, a Daily Beast review of the most-recent financial records found….
Several Republicans with key roles in passing the bill held more than $500,000 in medical stock.
This is not proof that these GOP Congressmen voted for it because of their holdings, they are actually for the most part morons, who may well have thought that a healthcare bill that denies healthcare to more people is a great healthcare bill. Lord knows Republicans is weird! But…
“As an objective matter, it seems like an awful lot of money in one industry that has a lot of regulation and that these members are directly dealing with legislation on,” said Larry Noble, a former Federal Elections Commission lawyer who now works for the Campaign Legal Center.
Like many other norms, we kind of assumed, it’s a little shocking to see that while there are many rules on what Congressmen can directly receive in the form of gifts and contributions, there are very few actual rules about what assets they can hold that could be under their regulatory purview.
Members of Congress aren’t expressly prohibited from owning stocks in individual companies, (Bush ethics lawyer Richard) Painter said, unlike employees of federal agencies and members of the executive branch. As a White House ethics lawyer, Painter said he routinely advised aides and other employees of the executive branch to either completely divest from investments in individual companies or shift their assets to diversified mutual funds in order to comply with ethics rules.
Is it so hard to divest and put the money in managed mutual funds while you are representing the public? Is that really too much to ask?