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  • Ryan Wittler

Congress is Really Good at Trading Stocks


A new report from Unusual Whales, a company that uncovers unusual market activity, has found that members of Congress traded $290 million in equities in 2021, and many members outperformed the market to boot.

Some highlights:

According to Unusual Whales, the $290 million was bought and sold by 105 members of Congress in over 3,500 transactions. The report also found that members traded $140 million in option contracts, $124 million in other securities like private equity funds, and $500,000 in cryptocurrencies.

The report found that House Democrats and Republicans each saw average returns of +14.7%, while Senate Democrats outperformed their counterparts +15.4% to +12.7%. Meanwhile, over the same transaction periods, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (a fund that tracks the S&P 500 index) returned +13.6%.

Good timing?

The report highlights several seemingly perfectly timed trades by members of Congress. Like House Reps. Kevin Hern (R-OK) and Kathy Manning (D-NC), who each bought tens of thousands of dollars worth of Lockheed Martin stock two weeks before the company was given a $10.9 billion government contract that went through committees they sit on.

Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) also got in on it. Two weeks before a $10 billion contract between Microsoft and the Department of Defense was canceled, he sold up to $250,000 in the company’s stock. Fallon sits on the subcommittee responsible for reviewing DOD software contracts.

In all, the report identifies 10 unusually well-timed trades by members of Congress.

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