Here Are Some of Congress' Favorite Stocks

While hard at work in Washington, a handful of members of Congress have also been busy trading stocks.

An analysis published on Sunday by Politico found that 28 members of the House of Representatives and six senators who served in the 114th Congress each traded more than 100 stocks in the past two years. And while the trades aren't necessarily illegal, they do raise questions -- especially considering some lawmakers are buying and selling stocks that could be affected by their work on Capitol Hill.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has been subject to scrutiny over his trades as a Representative from Georgia. Democrats have decried his investing activity after a Wall Street Journal report revealed he traded more than $300,000 in shares of health-rated companies over a four-year period while sponsoring and advocating legislation that would affect those companies' stocks.

His investment in a small Australian biotech company, Innate Immunotherapeutics, in particular sounded the alarm bells in light of the fact that Representative Christopher Collins of New York, another Trump ally, had made similarly conspicuously-timed trades. Perhaps even more troubling: Politico's research found as the scandal brewed around Price and Innate Immunotherapeutics, more members of Congress bought shares of the company.

Of course, Price isn't the only member of Congress to have done some stock investing. Politico found that three in 10 congressmen and women have made a stock trade over the past two years, totally 21,300 trades in total.

Stock trading is relatively even between the two parties -- 31% of Republicans made a trade, as did 28% of Democrats. Thirty-nine percent of senators traded, compared to 28% in the House, but, 11 of the top 12 traders are House members.

Representative Mike McCaul (R-TX) is among the most prolific traders on Capitol Hill. He reported about 7,300 transactions over two years.

To be sure, trading stocks by members of Congress is not exactly illegal. The STOCK Act, signed by President Obama in 2012, prohibits insider trading, but it doesn't bar investing altogether.

"There are always some gray areas," Larry Noble, general counsel of Washington, D.C.-based watchdog the Campaign Legal Center, told the Washington Post in January.

Interested in seeing what members of Congress have been buying and selling? Click through to see what Politico's research revealed.

Chesapeake Energy

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) bought shares of Chesapeake Energy (CHK) as a bill he cosponsored to lift a ban on oil experts made its way through Congress in 2015. The day after Congress announced the measure would be included in a must-pass spending deal, Corker sold at least $500,001 of the stock.

A Corker spokesman told Politico that Corker made the sale to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest.


Representative Mike Conaway (R-TX) introduced a bill in 2015 that would pave the way for a nuclear waste storage facility, Politico reports. The net spring, the storage facility's owner applied for approval to open. Days later, an account owned by the congressman's wife bought stock in Entergy (ETR) , a nuclear power company that stood to benefit from the facility.

Conaway also bought shares of Innate Immuno as the firestorm around Price brewed in January.

The congressman, who took over oversight of the Trump-Russia probe in April after Devin Nunes' resignation, told Politico his family has professional traders who "make trades either on their own, because they have the authority, or with my wife." He said he did not personally authorize the Entergy trade.

McKesson, Gilead and Abbott Labs

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) bought shares of pharmaceutical companies McKesson (MCK) , Gilead (GLD) and Abbott Labs (ABT) days before lawmakers closed on the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill appropriating $6.3 billion in new funding for medical research and faster drug approval. His wife bought additional stock in Gilead and Amgen (AMGN) . The day President Obama signed the bill into law, Whitehouse, who sits on the Senate HELP Committee that oversees health care, started to sell.

Whitehouse told Politico his stockbroker acted without his knowledge, and his office provided a letter from his financial advisers that said his account was managed without his input.

Juno Therapeutics and Celgene

Representative Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) bought stock in two cancer treatment companies, Juno Therapeutics (JUNO) and Celgene (CELG) , as Vice President Joe Biden was making his "cancer moonshot" push for research funding.

The congressman told Politico that he is a proud advocate for cancer research.

"There are no longer earmarks in Congress and I do not determine or advocate where NIH's funds specifically go once they have been allocated," Fleischmann said, referring to the National Institutes of Health. "In regard to my stocks, I treat my investments like a blind trust and was unaware of the transaction since my financial adviser makes the transactions."

Exxon Mobil

Representative Kurt Schrader (D-OR) is a prolific trader. According to Politico, he has made nearly 700 stock trades over the past two years. His buys and sells include companies he could influence as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, including Exxon (XOM) , Marathon Oil and Gas (MRO) , Conoco Phillips (COP) , Eli Lilly (LLY) and Pfizer (PFE) .

Schrader told Politico the trades are not self-directed decisions. "I check in with my team of advisers periodically for updates on my portfolio, but I am not making the day-to-day decisions," he sad.

Prescient Edge

Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) was a guest speaker at research and technology firm Prescient Edge in January 2016. When the company, which has Defense Department contracts, raised private capital later that year, Kinzinger bought in, making a $20,002 investment. He's a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.