More grift is rising to the top of Donald Trump’s evil-smelling swamp. Now that the ex-president is gone, the water pressure on his swamp is down, and foul corruption is floating into plain sight. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, interfaced the Chinese government with her family business while working as Transportation Secretary. But it gets worse, the corruption runs in ribbons throughout the Republican lawmakers.
During the time when the “largest economic relief package in history was written and debated,” Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) purchased five stocks, between March 25 and 27. The Senate and House voted on the CARES Act and Trump signed the bill. Where Crenshaw went wrong was he did not disclose these stocks, twice, in violation of the STOCK Act.
The law requires members of Congress to notify the public when they make securities trades. Only months after did Crenshaw change his records.
Crenshaw’s Communications Director, Justin Discigil, told The Daily Beast in an email.
‘You’re referencing financial disclosures that use a range to report stock purchases, and you’re choosing the upper end of the range to come up with that $120,000 figure. The real number is around $30,000 at most [and] in no way were his purchases unethical or related to official business.’
Securities law expert and professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Las Vegas Nevada, Ben Edwards said:
‘Members of Congress should not be actively trading securities in the middle of a crisis.’
‘It shows that when the market crashes, that person is thinking about themselves and using the volatility to their own advantage. We all have a limited amount of attention, and if you’ve got [an] eye on your stock portfolio, then you’re not giving that crisis or the American people the full attention they demand.’
Spokesperson for the “Harvard alum and former Navy SEAL” said Crenshaw filed an amendment:
‘[It was] to fix clerical issues in his report like making sure dates were correct.’
Crenshaw was on the House committees for Budget and Homeland Security. Military manufacturer, the Boeing Company, was after a piece of the CARES Act. It lobbied for $60 billion, but settled for $17 billion, according to its blog:
‘[B]usinesses critical to maintaining national security.’
The nonpartisan Institute on Tax and Economic Policy said at the time:
‘[It was] generally understood that the bill’s authors want much, if not all, of this $17 billion to go to a single company: Boeing.’
The organization continued:
‘The day that Crenshaw bought Boeing, markets snapped their brief positive burst, and the company led the boards that day in losses. His investment has now grown more than 38%. Boeing’s employee PAC gave $3,000 to Crenshaw’s 2020 campaign.’
Edwards said the federal government would help keep its business afloat. Last April, the airlines received a “$25 billion bailout,” The New York Times reported:
‘It’s not hard to see that airlines would be among the hardest-hit stocks in a global pandemic that restricted air travel. So the short-term is that they’re going to get hammered, but in the long term, the sky is going to be busy again.’
Edwards said he did not know why legislators made specific trades. Now, new changes have been introduced to limit trading scandals:
‘Some of the proposals for limiting stock purchases would really cut back on activity like this. For instance, Senator Warren’s plan would prohibit buying and selling individual stocks, and just allowing members to track markets through index funds. Another proposal is to require lawmakers to disclose their trading plans in advance, which executives of publicly traded companies already do. That would reduce the likelihood or suspicion that they’re using private information or their own legislative powers to their advantage.’
Senior Director of Ethics at the Campaign Legal Center Kedric Payne told the Daily Beast:
‘It is nearly impossible to make decisions affecting an industry and then receive a personal financial benefit without appearing to have a conflict of interest. Even if officials rely on financial advisors to make trading decisions on their behalf, the perception of conflicts of interest remains, because the public does not know if there are winks and nods prompting the trades.’
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.
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