Sen. Bill Cassidy Among 97 Congressmen Who Traded in Companies Affected By Their Committees

Congressman Bill Cassidy speaking at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Gage Skidmore | License

Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy was one of 97 congressional members who traded stocks, bonds, or financial assets in companies directly affected by actions taken in committees those congressmembers are members of, according to an analysis by the New York Times. While U.S. lawmakers aren’t banned from making investments, the Times report underscores rising concerns that members of Congress may be engaging in insider trading, or profiting off congressional actions.

The group of Congress members found with potential conflicts appears to be bipartisan, with 47 Democrats (including House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi) and 49 Republicans (including Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell). Reporters from the New York Times analyzed transactions from 2019 to 2021 recorded in a database of members’ financial filings called Capitol Trades. That database was created by 2iQ Research, a data provider offering global coverage of over 60,000 stocks.

A similar investigation conducted in December 2021 by Business Insider examining around 9,000 congressional financial disclosures rated Sen. Cassidy as “green,” meaning that his “financial compliance is solid.”

According to the Times investigation, the senator’s wife sold off CVS Health stock at the same time that the company was targeted by an investigation into surprise medical billing. One month later, Sen. Cassidy, in his role as a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee helped to broker legislation to end the practice. Other potential conflicts included:

  • Trades in Emerson Electric, Exxon Mobil, and Phillips 66 while a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee;
  • Trades in UPS while a member of the Finance Committee while testifying before the committee during an investigation;
  • Trades in Medtronic, Amgen, Novartis, and Johnson & Johnson while a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Finance Subcommittee on Health Care;

A spokesperson for Cassidy claims that the couple’s financial portfolio is managed by an advisor who does not consult with them before making trades. While some lawmakers have since sold off all of their stocks or moved them into a blind trust, Cassidy is not one of them.

There is currently a bill pending in Congress that would prevent members of Congress and their families from trading stocks while in office. The Insider Trading Prohibition Act would “prohibit securities trading, as well as related communications to others by a person aware of material, nonpublic information” and passed the house in 2021. It was referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, however, it’s unclear if a vote will occur on the issue before the Senate recesses on Sept. 30.

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