I-Team: Congressional Trading
Updated: Monday, August 6 2012, 05:27 PM EDT
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Insider trading it's not, but many members of Congress profit from stock trades where their influence reigns supreme.
The Washington Post found that 130 lawmakers or their families have traded hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stock in companies that lobbied bills that came before lawmakers' committees.
While the Post found no evidence to suggest insider trading, it's nonetheless beyond the fox guarding the hen house.
"They are in essence making their own personal gain based on a legislative advantage they've given themselves," said Sue Whichmann of Common Cause Maryland.
Whichmann spoke late last year before Congress half-heartedly passed the Stock Act, which banned lawmakers from using insider information, but failed to address a loophole that permits lawmakers from investing in companies for which they carry influence.
Months after the hearings were held in 2011, the Post found that one out of every eight congressional stock trades--5,531 in all--processed between 2007 and 2010 came in the crosshairs of legislation.
The post found that Tom Coburn (R-Okla) bought $25,000 in bonds from a genetic technology company at about the time he released a hold on legislation that impacted the company.
Representative Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) sold as much as $100,000 worth of stock in GE right before a Republican filibuster killed legislation that the company sought.
In all, lawmakers bought and sold as much as $218 million worth of stock from 323 companies registered to lobby legislation before them.