Archive for Dave Levinthal

Democratic candidates blast Biden and Pelosi for not pushing Congress to pass a stock trade ban for lawmakers: ‘Get in the ring!’

Tom Nelson, a Democratic US Senate candidate in Wisconsin
US Senate candidate Tom Nelson, a Democrat from Wisconsin, says party leaders in Washington are hurting congressional hopefuls like him by not embracing a ban on lawmakers trading stocks.
  • Democrats against a congressional stock trade ban are hurting flyover country candidates, they say.
  • They argue it's both bad politics and bad policy as Democrats try to hold on to their majorities.
  • Some Republicans are attempting to outflank Democrats by touting stock trade restrictions.

Out in Outagamie County, Wisconsin, two flights and lengthy Lyft ride from Capitol Hill, US Senate candidate Tom Nelson follows events in Washington with disbelief as leaders of his own Democratic Party resist banning members of Congress from buying and selling stock

Nelson, the county's elected executive, is particularly bamboozled by President Joe Biden's unwillingness to back any of the several bipartisan plans to have emerged or re-emerged since Insider's "Conflicted Congress" project in December revealed numerous financial conflicts of interest and widespread violations of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, a law designed to prevent them. 

Biden wants Congress to "determine what the rules should be," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

But Nelson said it's "a bad mistake" for Biden to sit it out.

"He's got to get in the ring. He can't lead from behind," said Nelson, who's running in a crowded Democratic primary for a shot at challenging two-term incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican. "Democrats need a win — we need a big win. I'm concerned that he's not embracing this issue."

Nelson's outrage is shared by a growing number of Democratic congressional candidates who don't work in Washington, DC, but want to. And they're making a congressional stock ban a thick plank in their campaign platforms. 

US Senate candidate Lucas Kunce in Missouri not only wants to ban members of Congress from trading stocks, but he also wants to toss them in jail if they don't comply.

US Senate candidate John Fetterman in Pennsylvania said Wednesday that "there isn't any voter I've ever spoken to that says, 'yes, we should allow members of Congress to either protect their investments or make money based off the information they come in contact to."

They join an improbable and growing coalition of federal lawmakers on the left — Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Elizabeth Warren — and the right — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Sen. John Hawley — who've signaled their support for banning their colleagues from trading stocks. 

Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Tim Ryan, both Ohio Democrats, as well as Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a Virginia Democrat, have recently featured their support for congressional stock trade bans in their campaign fundraising messaging.

"Members of Congress have access to highly confidential information that the public does not," Ryan's campaign wrote in January. "But this is still legal thanks to politicians who only look out for their own bottom line."  

Democratic leaders must understand that they're at significant risk of losing majorities in the US House and US Senate during the 2022 midterms if they don't spearhead "common sense" efforts to bolster the public's trust in government, such as stock trade bans, Nelson said. That includes Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, he said.

Pelosi's endorsement of lawmakers' right to trade individual stocks, followed recently by a reluctant course change, is particularly vexing because it cuts against what most Democrats want Congress to do, Nelson added, citing recent polls

It's also given fuel to TikTokkers and Twitter accounts that religiously track and meme the speaker's trading. Comedians at The Onion and The Daily Show have meanwhile made Pelosi a punchline.   

"Speaker Pelosi should be leading, Sen. Schumer should be leading. This is not only good policy, it's good politics," Nelson said. "But they're out of touch. And that's dangerous. It's dangerous because we're in a very challenging environment for Democrats, we're in the midterm, and our party is in power. There's very little room for error … This is a blunder."

GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters chief operating officer of Thiel Capital and president of the Thiel Foundation.
GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters in Arizona has called on Congress to ban its members from trading individual stocks.

Republicans embrace a congressional stock ban

Republican US Senate candidate Blake Masters in Arizona, for one, is already attempting to outflank Democrats by embracing a stock ban. He, too, has panned Pelosi — one of the wealthiest members of Congress whose venture capitalist husband, Paul Pelosi, frequently trades stocks and stock options — as a poster politician for congressional corruption. 

Even former President Donald Trump, arguably the most financially conflicted president in US history, has chimed in, saying in January that members of Congress trading individual stocks is "not right … not appropriate."

In Pelosi's own California congressional district, Democratic socialist Shahid Buttar is hammering the House speaker on her stock ban reluctance as part of his longshot attempt to upend her in a June 7 primary.

Democratic leaders' resistance to a congressional stock trade ban, Buttar told Insider, reveals their willingness to "prioritize capitalism over democracy. 

"That preference, and Pelosi's history of putting her stock portfolio before the public interest, violate the oath of office and demand accountability," he said.

Both Buttar and Nelson said they're at least mildly encouraged that Pelosi, increasingly squeezed by both liberals and conservatives, said she won't block stock ban bills from coursing through the legislative process.

But it'll take all Democratic leaders offering wholehearted support of such a ban — up to and including Biden — to give left-of-center candidates across the country proper political cover during the 2022 midterms.  

"We can't have stupid decisions coming out of Washington if we want to win," Nelson said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

34 members of Congress have violated a law designed to root out insider trading and prevent conflicts-of-interest

congressional stock report lobbying federal government 4x3
  • Insider and other media have identified numerous US lawmakers not complying with the federal STOCK Act.
  • Their excuses range from oversights, to clerical errors, to inattentive accountants.
  • Ethics watchdogs - and even some in Congress - want to ban lawmakers from trading individual stocks.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Insider and several other news organizations have this year identified 34 members of Congress who've failed to properly report their financial trades as mandated by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, also known as the STOCK Act.

Congress passed the law in 2012 to combat insider trading and conflicts of interest among their own members and force lawmakers to be more transparent about their personal financial dealings. A key provision of the law mandates that lawmakers publicly - and quickly - disclose any stock trade made by themselves, a spouse, or a dependent child.

But many members of Congress have not fully complied with the law. They offer excuses including ignorance of the law, clerical errors, and mistakes by an accountant.

While lawmakers who violate the STOCK Act face a fine, the penalty is usually small - $200 is the standard amount - or waived by House or Senate ethics officials. Ethics watchdogs and even some members of Congress have called for stricter penalties or even a ban on federal lawmakers from trading individual stocks, although neither has come to pass.

Here are the lawmakers who have this year violated the STOCK Act - to one extent or another - during 2021:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California
Dianne Feinstein
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat of California.

Feinstein was months late disclosing a five-figure investment her husband made into a private, youth-focused polling company.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a Republican from Alabama
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, an Alabama Republican, is pointing while wearing a gray suit and purple tie.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a Republican from Alabama.

Tuberville was weeks or months late in disclosing nearly 130 separate stock trades from January to May.

Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky
Sen. Rand Paul is administered an oath as his wife Kelley looks on during a swearing-in ceremony in the US Capitol on Jan 3, 2017.
Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky.

Paul was 16 months late in disclosing that his wife bought stock in a biopharmaceutical company that manufactures an antiviral COVID-19 treatment, the Washington Post reported.

Sen. Mark Kelly, a Democrat from Arizona
Mark Kelly Gabby Giffords .JPG
Sen. Mark Kelly, a Democrat from Arizona.

Kelly, a retired astronaut, failed to disclose on time his investment in a company that's developing a supersonic passenger aircraft, Fox Business reported

Rep. Tom Malinowski, a Democrat from New Jersey
tom.malinowski
Rep. Tom Malinowski, a Democrat from New Jersey.

Malinowski failed to disclose dozens of stock trades made during 2020 and early 2021, doing so only after questions from Insider. He faces a congressional ethics investigation, which the Committee on House Ethics confirmed in September.

Rep. Pat Fallon, a Republican from Texas
Rep. Pat Fallon, a Republican from Texas, is waving his right hand and wearing a light blue suit during a group photo with freshmen members of the House Republican Conference on the House steps of the US Capitol on January 4, 2021.
Rep. Pat Fallon, a Republican from Texas.

Fallon was months late disclosing dozens of stock trades during early- and mid-2021 that together are worth as much as $17.53 million.

Rep. Diana Harshbarger, a Republican from Tennessee
Rep. Diana Harshbarger, a congresswoman from Tennessee. She is in a blue jacket at the US Capitol.
Rep. Diana Harshbarger, a Republican from Tennessee.

Harshbarger failed to properly disclose more than 700 stock trades that together are worth as much as $10.9 million.

Rep. Katherine Clark, a Democrat from Massachusetts
Katherine Clark.
Rep. Katherine Clark, a Democrat from Massachusetts.

Clark, one of the highest-ranking Democrats in the House, was several weeks late in disclosing 19 of her husband's stock transactions. Together, the trades are worth as much as $285,000.

Rep. Blake Moore, a Republican from Texas
Rep. Blake Moore, a Republican from Utah, stands in front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC.
Rep. Blake Moore, a Republican from Texas.

Moore did not properly disclose dozens of stock and stock-option trades together worth as much as $1.1 million.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a Republican from Texas
dan crenshaw
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a Republican from Texas.

Crenshaw was months late disclosing several stock trades he made in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Daily Beast reported.

Rep. Susie Lee, a Democrat of Nevada
Susie Lee
Rep. Susie Lee, a Democrat from Nevada.

Lee failed to properly disclose more than 200 stock trades between early-2020 and mid-2021. Together, the trades are worth as much as $3.3 million.

Rep. Kevin Hern, a Republican from Oklahoma
Rep. Kevin Hern, a Republican of Oklahoma, speaks during a Republican Study Committee press conference on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.
Rep. Kevin Hern, a Republican from Oklahoma.

Hern did not disclose nearly two-dozen stock trades in a timely manner, in violation of the STOCK Act. Taken together, the trades are worth as much as $2.7 million.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Florida
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Florida.

Wasserman Schultz was months late reporting four stock trades made either for herself or her child.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat from New York
Sean Maloney
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat from New York.

Maloney was months late in disclosing he sold eight stocks he inherited in mid-2020 when his mother died.

Rep. Brian Mast, a Republican from Florida
Rep. Brian Mast, Republican of Florida
Rep. Brian Mast, a Republican from Florida.

Mast was late disclosing that he had purchased up to $100,000 in stock in an aerospace company. The president of the company had just testified before a congressional subcommittee on which Mast sits.

Rep. Lori Trahan, a Democrat from Massachusetts
Rep. Lori Trahan, a Democrat from Massachusetts, talking
Rep. Lori Trahan, a Democrat from Massachusetts.

Trahan was months late disclosing the sale of stock shares in a software company.

Rep. John Rutherford, a Republican from Florida
Rep. John Rutherford, a Republican from Florida, stands outside the US Capitol.
Rep. John Rutherford, a Republican from Florida.

Rutherford failed to properly disclose five individual stock transactions he made in late 2020.

Rep. Kathy Castor, a Democrat of Florida
Rep. Kathy Castor, a Democrat from Florida, speaks at a news conference.
Rep. Kathy Castor, a Democrat from Florida.

Castor was late disclosing the purchase of tens of thousands of dollars worth of stock shares throughout 2021.

Rep. August Pfluger, a Republican from Texas
Rep. August Pfluger, a Republican from Texas, talking on the phone
Rep. August Pfluger, a Republican from Texas.

Pfluger was several months late disclosing numerous stock purchases or sales made in January or March either by himself or by his wife.

Rep. Cheri Bustos, a Democrat from Illinois
Cheri Bustos
Rep. Cheri Bustos, a Democrat from Illinois.

Bustos was months late in disclosing that she had sold up to $150,000 worth of stocks in March.

Rep. Steve Chabot, a Republican from Ohio
Steve Chabot
Steve Chabot, a Republican from Ohio.

Chabot was months late disclosing a stock share exchange he held in early 2021.

Rep. Victoria Spartz, a Republican from Indiana
Rep. Victoria Spartz, a Republican from Indiana, stands at a press conference.
Rep. Victoria Spartz, a Republican from Indiana.

Spartz was two weeks late disclosing a purchase of up to $50,000 worth of stock in a commercial real-estate firm.

Rep. Rick Allen, a Republican from Georgia
Rep. Rick Allen, a Republican from Georgia, stands outside the US Capitol holding a mask.
Rep. Rick Allen, a Republican from Georgia.

Allen, a four-term Republican who represents a large southeastern region of Georgia, appears to have improperly disclosed the purchases and sales of several stocks during 2019 and 2020.

Rep. Mike Kelly, a Republican from Pennsylvania
Mike Kelly
Rep. Mike Kelly, a Republican from Pennsylvania.

Kelly was more than seven weeks late reporting a stock purchase made by his wife.

Rep. Chris Jacobs, a Republican from New York
Rep. Chris Jacobs, a Republican from New York, walks outside the US Capitol
Rep. Chris Jacobs, a Republican from New York.

Jacobs was months late filing various transactions made throughout early- to mid-2021, Forbes reported.

Rep. Bobby Scott, a Democrat from Virginia
Rep. Bobby Scott
Rep. Bobby Scott, a Democrat from Virginia.

Scott was months late in disclosing a pair of stock sales from December 2020, Forbes reported. NPR also reported several other late transactions, as first identified by the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat from Colorado
Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat of Colorado, filed stock transactions late.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat from Colorado.

Perlmutter ran a few days late in filing disclosures for as much as $30,000 in stock trades his wife made in June.

Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democrat from New York
tom suozzi salt tax
Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democrat from New York.

Suozzi failed to file required reports on about 300 financial transactions, NPR reported, citing research from the Campaign Legal Center.

Rep. Cindy Axne, a Democrat from Iowa
Cindy Axne Iowa
Rep. Cindy Axne, a Democrat from Iowa.

During 2019 and 2020, Axne didn't file required periodic transaction reports for more than three-dozen trades, reported NPR, citing research by the Campaign Legal Center.

Rep. Warren Davidson, a Republican from Ohio
warren davidson
Rep. Warren Davidson, a Republican from Ohio.

Davidson didn't properly disclose the sale of stock worth up to $100,000, reported NPR, citing Campaign Legal Center research.

Rep. Lance Gooden, a Republican from Texas
lance gooden
Rep. Lance Gooden, a Republican from Texas.

Gooden failed to file mandatory periodic transaction reports for a dozen stock transactions, per the STOCK Act, reported NPR, citing Campaign Legal Center research. Gooden's office disputed that the lawmaker did anything wrong.

Del. Michael San Nicolas, a Democrat from Guam
Del. Michael San Nicolas of Guam, at the US Capitol
Del. Michael San Nicolas, a Democrat from Guam.

San Nicolas did not properly disclose two trades — one in 2019 and another in 2020, reported NPR, citing Campaign Legal Center research.

Rep. Roger Williams, a Republican from Texas
roger williams
Rep. Roger Williams, a Republican from Texas.

Williams did not properly report three stock transactions his wife made in 2019, reported NPR, citing Campaign Legal Center research.

Rep. Dan Meuser, a Republican from Pennsylvania
Rep. Dan Meuser, a Republican from Pennsylvania, in a suit and tie.
Rep. Dan Meuser, a Republican from Pennsylvania.

Meuser was about one year late disclosing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock purchases his wife and children made during March 2020, LegiStorm reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

In age of division, 92% of Americans say they still want to make the country better, according to a new study

Fourth of July parade
People watch the Independence Day parade in Washington, DC, on July 4, 2019.
  • Many issues divide Americans. But some core principles are alive and well.
  • More than 4 in 5 adults "believe in the American dream," a new study found.
  • But just 3 in 10 people believe American history is taught in a "fair and balanced" way.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

By certain measures, people in the US are more bitterly divided than they've been in decades, particularly over politics.

But as the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, some bedrock principals of American unity and common cause are decidedly solid, according to a new study from America250, an organization composed of a congressionally chartered commission and sister nonprofit foundation. America250 is tasked with commemorating the nation's semiquincentennial - the 250th anniversary of the establishment of the United States.

The vast majority of adults in the US - 92% - want to "make America a better place to live," while 83% "believe in the American dream of working hard," the study indicates.

Read more: Governors of all 50 states are vaccinated against COVID-19

Nearly four in five adults said they'd rather live in the United States than anywhere else, and almost as many said they're "proud to be an American." More than seven in 10 consider themselves "patriotic."

Teenagers surveyed were slightly less effusive: 77% said they want to help make the nation a better place, while 74% agreed it's important to "have a good understanding of how the government works."

Teens cited "non-white history," voting rights, the Civil War, and religion as historical topics they want to learn more about.

But education, in general, remains a wedge issue: Just three in 10 adults said they believe American history is taught in a "fair and balanced" manner, with nine in 10 saying the American education system needs to do a better job teaching civics.

These results come at a time when critical race theory, the study of how America's history of racism and discrimination continues to affect the nation today, has become one of education's most divisive issues.

Nevertheless, America250 officials, which are today formally launching a nationwide awareness campaign to commemorate the nation's 250th anniversary in 2026, remain hopeful.

Read more: Meet 7 BidenWorld longtime consiglieres and a couple relative newcomers who have access to exclusive White House meetings

"In spite of all the challenges we have endured this past year, we are encouraged that Americans are united in working toward a better future," said Daniel M. DiLella, chairman of the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, which is part of America250. "Our mission is to commemorate our 250th anniversary with inclusive programs that inspire Americans to renew and strengthen our daring experiment in democracy."

Social Science Research Solutions Inc., conducted the survey on America250's behalf and polled 1,249 adults and 327 teens from May 12 to May 26. Respondents were targeted to reflect the nation's gender, age, race, and ethnic diversity, as well as different education levels and geographic regions.

Read the original article on Business Insider