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Rep. Dan Crenshaw ruled the pandemic was the perfect time to buy stocks rather than publish them
Tom Williams / GettyRep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) did not buy or sell any shares in his first 13 months as a Congressman. That changed in March 2020 when he made half a dozen purchases as the largest economic aid package in history was written and discussed. Five of these purchases came in the three days between March 25 and March 27 when the Senate and House of Representatives voted on the CARES Act and former President Trump signed it into law. Crenshaw, who supported the bill, initially did not disclose the transactions, which is in violation of the STOCK Act, a law that requires members of Congress to notify the public when they are engaging in securities transactions. Months later, he changed his records to reflect the purchases. The trades, which are only listed in a number of values, add up to a maximum of 120,000 US dollars and are not comparable in size or volume to the transactions previously executed in the pandemic of Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. It didn’t appear until December when Crenshaw amended its annual report, originally submitted in August, to “You are referring to financial statements that use a stock purchase reporting area, and you choose the high end of the range to make it $ 120,000” Justin Discigil, Crenshaw’s communications director, told the Daily Beast in an email. “The actual number is no more than $ 30,000,” Discigil said, “and his purchases were in no way unethical or tied to official business.” The timing, however, along with Crenshaw’s own trading history and connections to the industry, raises questions about why he made the purchases and twice failed to disclose. “Members of Congress should not actively trade stocks in the middle of a crisis. It shows that when the market crashes, that person is thinking about himself and using volatility to their own advantage, ”said Ben Edwards, an expert in securities law and professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada. “We all have limited attention, and when you have [an] If you keep an eye on your stock portfolio, you are not giving this crisis or the American people the full attention it demands. “Crenshaw, who was elected in 2018, had never traded individual stocks in office until the crisis hit, according to public records. When global markets collapsed on March 12, Crenshaw bought between $ 1,001 and $ 15,000 on Amazon. Two weeks later, when Congress was voting on the CARES bill, Crenshaw bought shares in the same price range in Southwest, Boeing, power infrastructure maker SPX and Kinder Morgan, a Texas-based pipeline construction company. He also bought into an index fund that was tied to the performance of the S&P 500. While it is unclear why Crenshaw did not initially disclose the transactions, an increasing number of high-profile lawmakers have been embroiled in an insider trading scandal. With the exception of the Amazon purchase, all of Crenshaw’s transactions came a week after ProPublica reported that Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) sold up to $ 1.72 million after private coronavirus briefings. On March 20, The Daily Beast reported that Loeffler and her husband had sold seven digits worth of shares following their first confidential information about the pandemic. The business conducted by Sens. David Perdue (R-GA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and John Hoeven (R-ND) were soon reviewed, spurring the Justice Department and Senate investigations Ethics Committee and Securities and Exchange Commission. None of the legislators have been prosecuted. Perdue and Loeffler lost their re-election offers to Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock in the runoff election in January. In response to the scandal, the campaign legal center analyzed all of the stock deals in Congress between February 2 and April 8 and found that a dozen Senators made a total of 127 deals and 37 members of the House of Representatives made at least 1,358 deals over the timeframe. However, Texas MP Dan Crenshaw Dunks on newly elected QAnon Queen, Marjorie Taylor Greene Crenshaw’s name, didn’t make it onto these media reports for failing to disclose his purchases. The STOCK Act, a 2012 law designed to deter federal elected officials from trading inside knowledge, requires Congress to publish all transactions within 45 days. Crenshaw not only failed to disclose the transactions at this point, but also failed to include them in its annual disclosure filed in August. And while that filing shows that Crenshaw owns the new assets, members must also list the transactions on the form, including the data that Crenshaw left blank. They didn’t appear until the Lone Star Republican filed an amended annual report in December. Crenshaw’s spokesman told The Daily Beast that Harvard alum and the former Navy SEAL tabled this amendment “to fix typing problems in its report, such as to ensure the dates are correct.” At the time of the transactions, Congress was trying to put together the CARES bill, a monumental emergency aid package that cost more than $ 2 trillion and that was backing Crenshaw. The Republican-led Senate approved the bill on March 25, the day Crenshaw bought shares in SPX and the S&P 500 fund. The package passed by the house the next day when Crenshaw picked up Southwest and Kinder Morgan and was signed by Trump on March 27, the day Crenshaw acquired his stake in Boeing. At the time, Crenshaw was on the House budget and homeland security committees. Boeing, in particular, campaigned heavily and successfully for part of the CARES Act, initially demanding $ 60 billion and later hoping for a portion of $ 17 billion that lawmakers would give to “companies that are responsible for maintaining national security are vital, “reserved. The bipartisan Tax and Economic Policy Institute said at the time it was “well known that the authors of the bill want much, if not all of that $ 17 billion to go to a single company: Boeing.” However, in late April, the manufacturer passed the deal on and instead opted for $ 25 billion in private investment, thanks to measures taken by the Federal Reserve independently of the CARES bill. The day Crenshaw bought Boeing, the markets sparked their brief positive breakout, and the company led the boards at a loss that day. His investment has now grown by more than 38%. Boeing’s PAC employee donated $ 3,000 to Crenshaw’s 2020 campaign. All of Crenshaw’s purchases showed highest-yielding returns from Boeing, Amazon and Southwest Airlines. Amazon rose from around $ 1,820 per share on March 12 to $ 2,979 today, and Southwest Airlines rose from around $ 41 to just over $ 60. “It’s not hard to see that airlines would be among the hardest hit stocks in a global pandemic that restricted air travel,” Edwards said. “So in the short term they’ll be hammered, but in the long run Heaven will be busy again.” That calculation includes the likelihood that the federal government will step in to keep the industry airborne, and in mid-April airlines received their $ 25 billion bailout. Edwards said the limited information available makes it impossible to know why Crenshaw and other officials are doing specific deals, new reforms introduced in response to the trade scandal would make such transactions impossible. “Some of the proposals to limit stock purchases would really limit such activity. For example, Senator Warren’s plan would prohibit the buying and selling of individual stocks and would only allow members to track the markets through index funds, ”he said. “Another proposal is to require lawmakers to disclose their trading plans in advance, which executives of listed companies are already doing. This would reduce the likelihood or suspicion that they are using private information or their own legislative powers to their advantage. “Kedric Payne, Senior Director of Ethics at Campaign Legal Center, told The Daily Beast in November that in public confidence lawmakers shouldn’t do this,” It’s nearly impossible to make decisions that affect an industry and then make a personal one Get financial advantage without having a conflict of interest, “Payne said. “Even when officials rely on financial advisors to make trading decisions on their behalf, perceptions of conflicts of interest persist as the public does not know if there are nods and nods to trade.” Last week, Business Insider reported that Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), a transparency advocate, had failed to disclose dozens of stock transactions during 2020. Malinowski, who likes Perdue – but unlike Crenshaw – claims that a third-party financial advisor runs its business independently, said his time in the barrel has sharpened his appetite for reform: “This reinforces my belief that members of Congress should not invest in the stock market or, if so, should not have any insight into the stocks they own. ” Malinowski later told NJ.com. “Even when decisions are made by an investment firm without input from Congressman, that perception of influence can inevitably arise because what we do in Congress affects every aspect of the economy.” Crenshaw doesn’t own many individual stocks, currently. Beyond the March deals, he only holds shares in Starbucks, Alphabet – Google’s parent company – and a small stake in Schlumberger, a global oilfield services company headquartered in Europe and with a Houston office. The energy-dependent metropolis is also home to Kinder Morgan, but both companies’ offices are just outside the boundaries of Crenshaw’s neighborhood. The trades intersect with Crenshaw’s government work, particularly in the energy sector. The oil and gas industry contributed a total of $ 453,247 to his 2020 re-election efforts and was his biggest sponsor in the industry in terms of PAC donations. And while this may not have been a direct conflict of interest last year, it may no longer be: On January 21, the Republican leadership of House Crenshaw relieved of his duties on the Homeland Security and Budget Committee and transferred him to the Energy and Commerce Committee. Read more at The Daily Beast. Have a tip? Submit it to The Daily Beast here. Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now! Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside delves deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.