Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 23, 2014

Posts in "Personal Finances"

April 10, 2014

Office of Congressional Ethics Looking at Rep. Bobby Rush

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

Rep. Robert Pittenger Pays $31,000 Fine (Corrected)

pittenger 166 022614 445x295 Rep. Robert Pittenger Pays $31,000 Fine (Corrected)

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.

Full story

April 6, 2014

Former Rep. Mark Foley Still Holding $1.26 Million Account

A former Congressman who resigned from Congress in 2006 is still holding onto $1.26 million in his campaign account.

Former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., served in Congress from 1995 to 2006. He resigned in September 2006 under pressure from the Republican leadership after allegations were made about the Congressman sending sexually suggestive emails and instant messages to underage males who were, or had been, Congressional pages.

Foley’s campaign committee, Friends of Mark Foley for Congress, reported it had $1,266,591 cash on hand as of March 31st. During the first quarter of 2014, the committee paid the I.R.S. $27,716 and the Florida Dept. of Revenue $3,493 for taxes. In 2013, the committee had receipts of $116,504, primarily from income from Fidelity Investments.

Foley has been helping Mark Lerner, principal owner of the Washington Nationals, Full story

April 3, 2014

Congressman Listed With Homestead Deduction in D.C.

graves 207 062813 445x295 Congressman Listed With Homestead Deduction in D.C.

A U.S. Congressman  from Missouri is listed as claiming a $70,200 Homestead Credit on his property assessment for a row house he purchased on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Samuel B. Graves, Jr., R-Mo., purchased what the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue labels a single-family residential row house on Capitol Hill in September 2013. The sale price was listed as $925,000.  The total value of the property for tax year 2015 is shown as $831,570. The taxable assessment, taking into account the D.C. Homestead credit, is shown as $724,504 for tax year 2015.

The D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue form states, “If you are not domiciled in the District or the property is not your principal place of residence, you are obligated to inform the Office of Tax and Revenue.” Members of Congress are usually not considered to be domiciled in the District.

Full story

March 31, 2014

Members of Congress Buying and Selling Stocks

petri 064 071012 445x295 Members of Congress Buying and Selling Stocks

Rep. Tom Petri


Members of Congress continue to report their periodic stock transactions as required by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. Meanwhile the House Ethics Committee is still looking into a member’s stock purchases in a company that would benefit from legislation being considered by his subcommittee, as well as actions the Congressman took to help a company he invested in to retain a billion dollar defense contract.

The House Ethics Committee is still investigating the actions of Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., in regards to his stock purchases in Plum Creek Timber, and his actions in support of defense contractor Oshkosh. Petri, himself, had requested the committee review the matter.

Here are some of the larger transactions by members of Congress.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the third richest member, reported he purchased $500,001 to $1 million of Alexandria RC Investors LLC on 1/21. He also sold $1 million to $5 million of EJF Select Fund LP on 1/11. He also sold $1 million to $5 million of Ramsey Long Biased Fund LP on 1/22.

Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., the 6th richest member, reported he sold $1 million to $5 million in stock of CapitalSource Inc. on 3/3 and the same amount again on 3/4. On each of three days, 2/26, 2/27, and 2/28 he also sold $1 million to $5 million of CapitalSource Inc.

Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., the 14th richest member, reported her spouse purchased $1 million to $5 million of BBH Limited Duration on 2/27. During January he purchased $450,004 to $950,000 of BBH Limited Duration. He also purchased $250,001 to $500,000 of Artisan Funds Inc. Int’l. on 2/27.

Full story

March 25, 2014

Former Sen. Larry Pressler Still Not Going For The Money

A former U.S. Senator, who could not be bribed, is returning to the campaign circuit after earning only a modest amount from teaching and consulting work during the last two years.

At the end of December, former South Dakota Republican Sen. Larry Pressler,  started his 2014 candidacy as an Independent for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D.  Pressler served in the Senate from 1979 to 1997, and served in the House from 1975-1979. Pressler lost to Tim Johnson in 1996. Johnson has announced he would not seek re-election in 2014.

In a new filing or his personal wealth, Pressler appeared not to have gone for big dollar contracts or lobbying work. He reported only a few paying clients over the last two years. The new report indicated he received $30,000 in earned income or non-investment income in the last two years from Blackhorse University Broward (FL) for advice on the sale of their branch in Vietnam; $20,000 from RE/Max Allegiance (DC) for commissions (which may have been his spouse’s income); $15,000 from Multivision Inc. (VA) for advice on predatory pricing legal issues; and $14,000 from Sciences Po University (Paris, France) for teaching as a professor of International Relations.

His personal wealth report listed Full story

March 13, 2014

Former Rep. Edolphus Towns Driven To Personal Use of Campaign Funds

A former U.S. Representative has agreed to pay a civil penalty for personal use of campaign funds.

Former Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., has reached a conciliation agreement with the Federal Election Commission for converting campaign funds to personal use. Towns agreed to pay a $5,000 civil penalty for using campaign funds to pay for a car lease on a vehicle used exclusively or primarily by his wife, Gwen Towns, for noncampaign-related personal activities. The Infiniti car was leased for at least 12 months at a cost of $600 per month.

Full story

March 1, 2014

Debbie Dingell Starts Campaign to Follow Husband in Congress

DebbieDingell007 050311 445x296 Debbie Dingell Starts Campaign to Follow Husband in Congress

The spouse of a current member of Congress has started her campaign to succeed her husband in the next Congress.

Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., filed a statement of candidacy on Friday for the 12th Congressional District of Michigan, a seat currently held by her husband, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who has announced his retirement at the end of this Congress.

Debbie Dingell has set up and registered her principal campaign committee, Debbie Dingell for Congress. The committee is based in Dearborn, Michigan, and the treasurer is Martha Darling.

Her personal financial holdings have been public as part of her husband’s personal financial disclosure report, which has been filed annually as required by the Ethics Act.

Her husband has also filed numerous stock transaction reports as required by the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. The reports show transactions for jointly held stock and individually owned assets. Since January 1, 2013, her own stock transactions included the following:

February 19, 2014

Alan Grayson Doesn’t Go For The Gold

While some are seeking the gold at the Winter Olympics, one Congressman is selling gold and other investments.

Members of Congress file periodic reports on their financial transactions as required by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. Here are a few of the recent large transactions.

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., who is the 21st richest member of Congress, reported he sold $130,003 to $350,000 of Timmons Gold during January. He also sold $250,001 to $500,000 of Russian oil company Lukoil. He sold $250,001 to $500,000 of Brazilian oil company Petrobras; $250,001 to $500,000 of Endeavour Silver; $350,002 to $750,000 of Terra Nitrogen; $250,001 to $500,000 of Dice Holding; and $350,002 to $750,000 of CVR Refining. Rep. Grayson sits on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and its subcommittee on energy, and its subcommittee on environment.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who is the second richest member of Congress, reported his spouse sold $100,001 to $250,000 of Ensco PLC; and purchased $100,001 to $250,000 of Digital Rlty TR Inc. A dependent child purchased $100,001 to $250,000 of Citigroup Inc; sold $100,001 to $250,000 of Albemarle Corp; purchased $100,001 to $250,000 of Digital Rlty TR Inc.; purchased $200,002 to $500,000 of Starbucks Corp.

Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., who is the seventh richest member of Congress, reported he sold $5 million to $25 million of Symbius Medical LLC – PRNMS Investments Inc. on January 1st. He also purchased $500,001 to $1 million of Ishares Russell 100 Growth on January 30th; among other transactions.

Full story

January 27, 2014

Campaign Kitty of Buck McKeon Holds Over $600,000

The retiring chairman of the House Armed Services Committee reported he has over $600,000 in his campaign account, and is still paying his wife a salary.

The campaign account of Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., who announced earlier this month that he will not seek re-election, reported it had receipts of $69,927 and disbursements of $87,379 for the fourth quarter, leaving $606,298 cash on hand as of December 31st.

During the fourth quarter, the committee paid Patricia McKeon $5,206 per month for payroll. Even if the committee had no more receipts, it could afford to pay her that salary for the one year remaining of her husband’s term, and years afterwards. A committee does not have to terminate when the member leaves Congress. Since 2001, the committee has paid her $271,946 for payroll and reimbursements.

January 24, 2014

Big Year-End Stock Moves by Members of Congress

New reports of personal financial transactions of Members of Congress show some made large stock sales and purchases at the end of 2013.

The reports are required by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. Here are some of the larger transactions reported.

Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., reported she and her spouse sold $350,002 to $750,000 of stock in Microsoft Corp. on 12/23; and sold $500,001 to $1 million of class A Berkshire Hathaway stock on 12/26.

Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., reported her spouse sold $1 million to $5 million of BBH Limited Duration on 12/17.

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., reported he purchased $500,001 to $1 million of Dice stock on 12/31; purchased $500,001 to $1 million of Ecopetrol stock on 12/31; purchased $250,001 to $500,000 of Endeavor Silver stock n 12/31; purchased $100,001 to $250,000 of EZ stock on 12/31; purchased $500,001 to $1 million of Petrobras stock on 12/31; purchased $500,001 to $1 million of Terra Nitrogen stock on 12/31; purchased $250,001 to $500,000 of Timmons Gold stock on 12/31.

Full story

January 21, 2014

Accepting Gifts Leads to Indictment of Former Governor

A Governor and his wife, who accepted gifts, loans and vacations from a businessman who sought access to state officials, were charged today with felony counts in a federal corruption investigation.

Former Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, were indicted on 14 counts, including wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, obtaining property through his public office, and making false statements. The gifts were from Jonnie R. Williams Sr., CEO of Star Scientific.

View the Washington Post article for more details. Read indictment.

January 10, 2014

Most Members of Congress are Millionaires

As the Congress looks at the issues of poverty and income inequality, a new study shows most members of Congress are millionaires.

“Of 534 current members of Congress, at least 268 had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012, according to disclosures filed last year by all members of Congress and candidates. The median net worth for the 520 current lawmakers who were in Congress as of the May filing deadline was $1,008,767 – an increase from the previous year when it was $966,000.”

Full story

By Kent Cooper Posted at 12:10 p.m.
Personal Finances

January 9, 2014

House of Representatives Improves Disclosure of Stock Trades

The House of Representatives has entered the electronic age for personal financial information on members by making public its first electronic filing from a member of the House disclosing their stock transactions.

Stock and financial transaction reports of members of Congress are required to be filed periodically by the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. These are made available to the public by the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate.

The new voluntary electronic filing system was made available for use by House members at the beginning the year and permits them to fill in an electronic form, digitally sign it, and file it electronically. The new electronic filing system is voluntary, and other paper filings, many hand written, are continuing to be received, scanned and made public.

The first electronic filing was made available to the public this morning by the Clerk’s Legislative Resource Center. Full story

December 30, 2013

Rep. Bill Flores Trades Heavily in Natural Resources Stock

A Congressman who sits on the House Natural Resources Committee and its subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, has reported heavy trading in stocks of energy companies and partnerships.

Members of Congress are required to file periodic reports of stock transactions by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (Stock) Act. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, who ranks as the 49th richest member of Congress, has filed several disclosure reports this year on his stock trades, many in transactions of more than $100,000. Flores is the former CEO of Phoenix Exploration Company, an oil and gas exploration company.

Full story

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