As calls grow to ban members of Congress from trading individual stocks, a NY1 Spectrum News analysis shows that most New Yorkers on Capitol Hill do not own stocks. However, two members in particular – Reps. Chris Jacobs and Tom Suozzi – have big wallets.
“It creates a conflict of interest. I think it’s really basic, very simple,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of those calling for new stockpile restrictions to be enacted.
Some lawmakers are proposing to ban members of Congress and their spouses from buying and selling, forcing them to place their assets in blind trusts. Others go further, saying the members’ children should also face restrictions.
Ocasio-Cortez says Congress needs to do something.
“Let’s start right now, as soon as possible, to at least prevent actual members of Congress from owning and trading individual stocks,” she said. “And then we can build on that.”
Rep. Ritchie Torres, another New York Democrat representing the Bronx, recently signed a bipartisan letter imploring the House leaders to put an end to this practice.
“The appearance of impropriety is a compelling enough reason to impose a ban on broader congressional stock trading,” Torres said in an interview.
The push for new restrictions accelerated after North Carolina Senator Richard Burr sold stocks in early 2020 following briefings on the emerging threat posed by the coronavirus. The US Department of Justice did not file criminal charges, but Burr lost his place at the top of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Prior to that, upstate Rep. Chris Collins relinquished his congressional seat after pleading guilty to passing inside information so his son could avoid a big loss on shares of a pharmaceutical company. .
Stocks held by New York lawmakers
So what stocks do New Yorkers on Capitol Hill own?
With the help of the organization Open Secrets, NY1 Spectrum News dug into the most recent disclosure reports available, which detail lawmakers’ investments from 2020.
More than half of the delegation — Democrats and Republicans alike — said they didn’t own any individual shares, including Ocasio-Cortez and Torres, as well as Senator Chuck Schumer.
“I don’t own any stock and I think it’s the right thing to do,” Schumer told reporters last month.
In 2020, Reps. Joseph Morelle and Sean Patrick Maloney both said they sold their shares. Maloney had inherited his through an IRA after his mother died.
Representative Carolyn Maloney listed a blind trust worth between $1 million and $5 million, but no individual stocks.
In her disclosure, Queens Democratic Rep. Grace Meng said her husband owns several stocks, including Johnson & Johnson, General Electric and Intel. Each of these shares was worth between $1,001 and $15,000.
And Rep. Tom Reed lists shares under an IRA owned by his wife.
Representatives Andrew Garbarino, Brian Higgins and Nicole Malliotakis each have small stock portfolios, according to 2020 reports.
Garbarino’s investments included pharmaceutical companies Oramed and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Higgins said he owns shares worth between $50,001 and $100,000 in technology company NVIDIA.
Malliotakis – who has investments in Boeing, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, among others – says she has decided not to buy or sell during her tenure.
Asked about wanting to outright ban federal lawmakers from trading stocks, the Staten Island Republican said, “Certainly they should be in a blind trust and maybe put on hold while lawmakers are in office. .”
New York’s Two Biggest Investors
The largest investors in the delegation by far are representatives Chris Jacobs and Tom Suozzi.
Jacobs, a Republican from western New York, says he owns stock in more than 100 companies, with a total stock value between about $1.3 million and $5 million, based on NY1 Spectrum Newsit is To analyse. (The disclosures do not require exact dollar values for the shares.)
Suozzi, a Long Island Democrat running for governor, lists between about $970,000 and $2.5 million in stock.
Jacobs’ and Suozzi’s portfolios share some similarities: They both own between $100,000 and $250,000 worth of Apple and Microsoft stock.
Jacobs also lists major investments in Home Depot, Nike and New York-based liquor company Constellation Brands. United Rentals and NVIDIA round out Suozzi’s largest holdings.
Suozzi says a financial adviser manages his portfolio, although he says he has some knowledge of what he owns.
“I don’t make any decisions about what stocks I buy or sell,” he said in an interview.
Asked about the proposed restrictions, Suozzi said he would support any changes Congress might pass.
A spokesperson for Jacobs said the congressman will follow all future financial ethics laws.
Read the financial information yourself below: