Members of Congress are allowed to trade stocks and options as long as they promptly report their transactions. However, these trades often raise concerns about potential conflicts of interest, leading some senators to call for a ban on elected officials being able to trade stocks.
One member of Congress who has recently made headlines for his stock transactions is Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.). Gottheimer has been one of the most active members of Congress when it comes to stock trading, with one of the best trades of 2022, earning a 140% gain on sales of ChemoCentryx after the company was acquired by Amgen, Inc.
Recently, Gottheimer disclosed several stock transactions, including large purchases and sales of options of Microsoft Corporation (MSFT). Unusual Whales, a popular Congress trading tracker, tweeted about Gottheimer’s trades, noting that he purchased millions of dollars worth of MSFT options with a strike price of $160, expiring in June 2024. The tracker estimated that he paid over $5 million for this purchase.
Gottheimer’s team has stated that the Congressman does not complete his own trading and that a third-party handles the activity for him. However, this raises questions about his promise to put his money in a blind trust, which he has failed to do so far.
It is worth noting that Gottheimer was previously employed by Microsoft, holding various titles from 2012 to 2015. Quiver Quant, a trading analytics platform, suggested that these trades could be related to grants he received while working for the company.
Gottheimer currently serves on the Committee on Financial Services and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, making his stock transactions even more significant. Earlier this year, questionable trades in bank stocks made by Gottheimer were flagged, including SVB Financial, owner of Silicon Valley Bank, which he sold shares of one day before the bank was taken over by the FDIC.
In addition to these concerns, Gottheimer has also been mentioned as one of several elected officials who owned stakes in Russian companies in 2022, despite economic sanctions. He has also violated the STOCK Act several times by failing to disclose his transactions in the required time.
Overall, the recent stock transactions by Rep. Josh Gottheimer have raised potential red flags and renewed the debate about whether members of Congress should be allowed to trade stocks. The potential conflicts of interest and lack of transparency in these transactions highlight the need for stricter regulations and accountability for elected officials.