Senators, Peters & Hickenlooper, join the League of STOCK Act violators

From left to right, Senator Gary Peters and Senator John Hickenlooper are seen addressing the public in two separate press conferences

Ever since the infamous case of 2020 congressional insider trading scandal, more and more people have begun speaking against allowing lawmakers to invest in stocks. Less than a decade ago, the STOCK act was introduced for this very purpose, but unfortunately, instead of protecting the public’s faith in the government, it has incited more criticism.

Even now, talks of completely banning Congress trading are making rounds. Ironically, more and more politicians are coming forth with late disclosures of their stock trading.

Blast from the past

Presently serving as the Chairperson of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) assumed office on January 03, 2015, with his current term coming to an end in 2027.

On May 17, 2022, Peters’s staff unveiled a disclosure statement that mentioned a single trade the Senator himself made back in 2021. Dated August 27, Peters bought FS KKR Capital Corp (FSK: US) shares at a rate of $23.11. This amounted to a value anywhere between $1K to $15K. 

FS KKR Capital Corp's stock price is shown in a chart along with the dates between Sen. Peters's initial purchase of the stock and the trade disclosure

In its recent financial statement for Q1 2022, FS KKR revealed that it had a “positive start to 2022”. The Net investment income per share went up by 16.7% in comparison to the company’s quarter that ended on December 31, 2021. The stock price of FSK itself is still standing close to the rate Peters bought it at.

The same day as Peters’s disclosure, Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) too submitted a disclosure that listed trades from 2021:

  • On March 15 & September 01, 2021, the Senator partially sold shares of Liberty Broadband Corp (LBRDA: US) in a value ranging from $100K to $250K.
  • He also partially sold Liberty Media Corp SiriusXM Group (LSXMA: US) shares worth almost $250K on March 15. Later, he partially sold LSXMA again for up to $500K value on November 12.
  • The only purchase disclosed was of Skylark Lounge Holdings LLC, an unknown asset on which he spent anywhere from $15K to $50K. 

Timeline of Liberty Broadband Corp's share price is shown in comparison with Sen. Hickenlooper's partial sale in 2021 and trade disclosure in May'22

Sen. Hickenlooper's partial sale of LSXMA stock is compared with the company's share price on the day of the Senator's sale and when the trade disclosure became public

Sen. Hickenlooper is currently seated on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, as well as being the Chairperson of Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety.

Since the Senator’s sale of LBRDA on March 15, the stock has dived by nearly 24.46%. LSXMA has also been falling since the past year. Comparing closing prices between Sen. Hickenlooper’s first partial sale and May 18, the stock is down by almost 13.66%.

Adding to the list

As previously mentioned, Senators Peters and Hickenlooper are only the latest additions to the group of US lawmakers who have been under fire for delayed reporting of their trades.

Much of the American public has been vocal about banning stocks, as have a majority of Congress members who themselves do not own stock. Recently, an article covered the US President, Joe Biden’s formerly introduced reforms that included “a promise to work with Congress to enact legislation that would prevent members of Congress, “from being influenced by personal financial holdings.” In an advancement, President Biden refrained from taking the decision himself and instead allowed Congress members to decide for themselves the best course of action. As of yet, no substantial progress has been made in banning Congress from trading.

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