Rep. Dan Crenshaw was recently asked about members of Congress trading stocks and his response was, interesting. On the podcast All American Savage Show, the host brought up the Signal’s recent article about Crenshaw’s trading netting the fifth-highest return in all of Congress.
According to a report from Unusual Whales, Crenshaw was one of 35 members of Congress who beat the market in 2021 by trading stocks and options. The Houston-area Congressman just edged out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the fifth-place spot.
“I think it would be fine if you wanted to ban individual stock trading… as opposed to ETFs, indexes,” said Crenshaw. “I’m kinda neutral on it.”
“If you want only millionaires and billionaires to run for Congress, then keep making sure we can’t raise our pay,” he added. “Just keep in mind that no one will run for Congress because you have no way to better yourself.”
As a congressman, Crenshaw makes an annual salary of $174,000, well over twice the median household income in the United States. Members of the House also receive a $900,000 allowance to pay their staff and cover office and travel expenses (senators receive a much larger allowance). They can also deduct $3,000 a year for living expenses of living away from their district. After five years in Congress, members are eligible for a pension as well, although how much they receive after retirement depends on a number of factors such as how long they served (Crenshaw will pass the five-year mark in his next term assuming he’s re-elected).
On top of all the perks of being in Congress, Crenshaw has written a best-selling book Fortitude: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage. Sales got a boost from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which spent nearly $400,000 on a bulk order of the book. All told, Crenshaw’s net worth is estimated to be between $1.5 and $3.4 million.
Congress playing the stock market has recently come under increased scrutiny thanks in large part to the pandemic. In January of 2020, four senators dumped millions of dollars in stock after receiving sensitive briefings on the threat posed by COVID. Crenshaw himself has run afoul of the rules when it comes to Congress and stocks. Last year it was revealed that he failed to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock buys, which is a violation of the STOCK Act.
Such trading brings up concerns regarding insider trading and conflicts of interest. Crenshaw’s stock purchases occurred in March of 2020; at the time he sat on the Budget and Homeland Security Committee and Congress was putting together a massive economic relief package. One of Crenshaw’s buys was in Boeing, a company that lobbied for a $17 billion loan fund for companies “critical to maintaining national security” that was included in the relief package (in the end Boeing didn’t need the money).
Sens. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Jon Ossoff (D-Georgia) have introduced a bill that would ban members of Congress from trading individual stocks. The Ban Congressional Stock Trading Act wouldn’t completely prevent Congress from making off stocks, but their investments would have to be placed in a blind trust.
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