Posts in "Personal Finances"
July 7, 2014
A bill recently introduced in Congress would require lobbyists to identify relatives who are senior government officials, and prohibit candidates and their committees from employing relatives.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., recently introduced H.R. 5011, that seeks to curtail the benefits involved with candidates who hire relatives and lobbyists who have lobbying contacts with their relatives who are government officials.
June 26, 2014
A millionaire, who self-financed most of his congressional campaign, was sworn in yesterday as the newest member of Congress.
Curt Clawson, R-Fla., who was elected Tuesday in a special election in Florida’s 19th Congressional District, was sworn in by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
Clawson fills the seat formerly held by Rep. Trey Radel, who resigned in January after a conviction for cocaine possession.
Through June 4th, Clawson reported receipts of $3,988,149 and disbursements of $3,699,679, leaving $288,470 cash on hand, and outstanding loans of $3,650,000. Clawson loaned $3,650,000 to his campaign. Individuals contributed $326,746.
June 21, 2014
The new personal financial wealth and income reports of the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court are now available online.
The Ethics in Government Act requires annual personal financial wealth and income reports from top officials in all three branches of government. The goal is to prevent conflicts of interest and deter corruption and the appearance of corruption of public officials.
The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts made public on Friday the paper copies of financial reports covering calendar year 2013, for Chief Justice Roberts and the eight active Associate Justices. Since the Court does not make them available online, Political MoneyLine has scanned them each year and made them available here, under the tab for SCOTUS Personal Financial Disclosures.
The financial reports list assets and financial holdings in broad dollar ranges, and do not include the value of personal residences or spousal income, unless done voluntarily. Some view the filings to see if any Justice owns stock or has investments in a company that may relate to a matter that may come before the Court.
In 2013, some of the Justices supplemented their salary with brief teaching positions at education institutions and law schools. For example, Chief Justice Roberts taught a ten-day course in Prague, The Czech Republic.
Also, some are reimbursed for Full story
June 20, 2014
A U.S. Representative must repay $59,000 to those who provided improper gifts, as well as be reproved by the House Ethics Committee.
The House Ethics Committee released a report on Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, stating that in regard to fifteen trips and certain gifts, (1) Young violated House rules, and other laws and standards of conduct, (2) Young failed to report certain gifts, (3) Young must repay the $59,064 value of those trips and gifts, (4) Young must amend his personal financial disclosure report to show the gifts, and (5) Young should be reproved for his conduct with respect to his personal use of campaign funds, his acceptance of improper gifts, and his failure to report certain gifts.
Roll Call’s Matt Fuller recaps the report in his article, Don Young Broke House Rules, Ethics Committee Says.
The campaign finance records of the newly elected House Majority Leader and Majority Whip provide a wealth of data on who already has connections into the two new leaders.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has raised over $12.5 million in campaign funds for his principal campaign committee since 2006. The $4.9 million in contributions from individuals is easily searchable by donor name, employer, state, or date, on McCarthy’s multi-year financial profile with a subscription to Political MoneyLine’s databases.
McCarthy’s $6.6 million in receipts from PACs and other committees is also searchable by interest group category, such as Finance & Insurance, which has been his largest industry category over the years.
The records of McCarthy’s leadership PAC, the Majority Committee PAC, also show connections with donors around the country. The committee had almost $5 million in receipts since 2006. His personal wealth and income statements also are available.
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., has raised Full story
June 13, 2014
Although Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., will leave his current job in January 2015, he won’t feel the pain of other unemployed people, since his family wealth will easily tide him over until his next job.
According to his personal financial wealth statement filed in May, and covering 2013, Cantor’s major family assets include: $1 million to $5 million in stock of Domino’s Pizza Inc. as well as $250,001 to $500,000 in stock options.; $1 million to $5 million in a note receivable for real estate development in Richmond Resources Ltd.; $500,001 to $1 million in a note receivable for commercial real estate with Richmond Resources Hickory Park LLC; $500,001 to $1 million in deferred stock units of Media General Inc.; $250,001 to $500,000 of stock in Qualcomm Inc.; $250,001 to $500,000 in Water Tower Associates LLC; $250,001 to $500,000 in SK Holdco LLC, a collision repair company; $250,001 to $500,000 in Thirteen Capital Associates; $250,001 to $500,000 in Bank of America bank accounts; as well as many other investment holdings.
Other large assets include Full story
June 6, 2014
A federal agency has closed its investigation of a U.S. Representative for using campaign funds and his leadership PAC funds for his family’s trip to Scotland, and his daughters expenses to promote her business and her graduation party.
The Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) closure of Matter Under Review (MUR) #6511 against Rep. Robert Andrews, D-N.J., was disclosed in a letter to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), who had filed the original complaint.
CREW had alleged Andrews had used his campaign funds and leadership PAC funds for non-campaign or personal use. The FEC found $13,540 spent on expenses for a family trip to Scotland involving a gift at Bloomingdales and $7,725 for rooms at the Balmoral Hotel; $16,575 for air tickets paid by his PAC; expenses for his teenage daughter’s travel with him to promote her show business career; $20,159 for a June 2011 party celebrating his career and his daughter’s high school graduation; and more than $12,500 in contributions to theaters where his daughter performed.
May 31, 2014
A Congressman, who had trouble getting on the primary election ballot, has set up a legal expense trust to solicit funds to pay his legal fees.
Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., has registered his Conyers 13th District Legal Expense Trust with the Internal Revenue Service as a Section 527 political organization. The Trust is based in Washington, D.C. and was filed on May 30th by treasurer Amy Gilbert. The stated purpose is “To defray legal fees and other expenses…”
County and Michigan state officials had ruled Conyers did not have enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, but U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman reversed the decision and insisted Conyers be placed on the ballot.
May 29, 2014
Even while Congress is legislating and providing oversight of the executive branch and government agencies, members of Congress are buying and selling stocks, according to new periodic disclosure reports of financial transactions required by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (Stock) Act.
Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., the 14th richest member of Congress, reported her spouse bought $50,001 to $100,000 of Comcast Corporation on April 1st, and bought another $50,001 to $100,000 of Comcast on April 3rd. Black’s spouse also bought $1,000,001 to $5 million of York Capital Management on March 31st. On April 3rd, he bought $100,001 to $250,000 of Unilever and the same amount of Zoeis Inc. on April 3rd.
Other recent reports of large transactions include:
Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., the 8th richest member of Congress, reported his spouse sold $500,001 to 1 million worth of Graham Corp. on March 4th, and another $100,001 to $250,000 of Graham Corp. on March 6th. He also sold $1 million to $4 million of California State GO bonds on April 1st. On various dates in April he sold a total of between $1,526,016 and $3,415,000 of APCO Oil & Gas.
May 17, 2014
President Obama and Vice President Biden filed their personal financial disclosure reports this week and the White House has made them public.
The Ethics in Government Act requires the annual personal wealth and financial reports from persons in the top paying positions in the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government. Candidates for Congress are also required to file.
May 16, 2014
The United States Senate has moved into the electronic age with its disclosure today of the personal wealth reports of Senators and candidates, although it still remains in the dark ages with no electronic filing of campaign finance reports.
U. S. Senators, candidates and senior staff took advantage of a new Senate electronic filing system on Thursday to file their annual personal financial disclosure reports. These reports disclose their CY2013 income, financial transactions, liabilities, and other information on their personal wealth.
Of the 100 Senators, 70 of them filed electronically, 14 filed in paper format, and 16 were granted extensions to file at a later date. Numbers for candidates and staff are not yet available.
The Secretary of Senate made the filings available on Friday, May 16th, one day after filings were received. In previous years, the processing and scanning of the paper reports for public disclosure took about 30 days.
May 5, 2014
Members of Congress and senior Congressional staff may be a little distracted from legislative activity this week and next as they prepare to file their annual personal financial disclosure reports.
Personal financial reports disclosing CY2013 family wealth and income are due to be filed by May 15th. Some members of Congress, including Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. (currently ranked 4th richest member of Congress) , Robert Corker, R-Tenn. (currently ranked 22nd), Kay Hagan, D-N.C. (currently ranked 45th), James Risch, R-Idaho (currently ranked 19th), Mark Warner, D-Va. (currently ranked 3rd), and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. have already been granted extensions. Many more are expected.
The filings will then be scanned and made public about 30 days later, although filers could make their information public voluntarily at any time. Because of filing extensions, an accurate ranking of the wealthiest members will not be possible until several months later. View Roll Call’s ranking of the 50 Richest Members of Congress, based on CY2012 wealth reports.
The House Committee on Ethics has Full story
April 28, 2014
Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., was indicted on Monday on charges of underreporting payroll for his New York health-food restaurant, Healthicious.
Grimm was charged with hiding more than $1 million in restaurant receipts and employee wages, as well as hiding a separate set of computer payroll records. The indictment charges Grimm with wire fraud, mail fraud, employment of illegal immigrants, perjury, obstruction of justice, obstructing and impeding tax laws and conspiracy to defraud the government.
View Roll Call article, “Michael Grimm Indicted on 20 Counts.”
Read the full indictment.
Read U.S. Attorney press release.
April 10, 2014
A Congressman’s handling of a $1 million grant and his campaign fund expenditures are being probed by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., acknowledged the inquiry and stated, “I’ve been cooperative,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The Congressman’s campaign committee, Citizens for Rush, is paying the Dickstein Shapiro law firm for legal services. His attorney is Scott Thomas, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission.
Chuck Neubauer and Sandy Bergo reported in several Chicago Sun-Times/Better Government Association investigative articles that there was little to show from a $1 million grant Rush’s non-profit received from SBC (now AT&T). The articles also highlighted the mixing of campaign funds and those of his church where he is the minister. Carolyn Rush also was listed as a $3,000-a-month consultant to the campaign.
April 7, 2014
A freshman Congressman has paid a $31,000 fine for a campaign finance disclosure violation in his first federal election. But the fine was a relatively small amount for the 13th richest member of Congress.
The campaign committee of Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., failed to file a 48-hour contribution notice prior to his May 8th primary election in 2012. The pre-election notice would have disclosed Pittenger’s own $309,000 contribution to his campaign on April 26, 2012. Pittenger failed to win the primary outright, but ranked first with 32% of the vote in the eleven-candidate field. In the July 12th primary run-off, Pittenger beat former Mecklenburg County sheriff James Pendergraph.
The Federal Election Commission required the Pittenger for Congress LLC to pay a $31,010 civil penalty, which included $110 for one notice not filed, plus 10% of the overall contributions not filed. The fine was paid on February 21, 2013.