Conflicted Congress by Insider

Insider's investigative reporting project, "Conflicted Congress," reveals how members of the US House and Senate have eviscerated their own ethical standards, avoided legal consequences, and blinded Americans to the many moments when lawmakers' personal finances clash with their public duties.

In all, more than 40 Insider reporters, editors, data journalists and researchers worked tirelessly on the five-month-long project, collecting and analyzing more than 9,000 federal financial disclosure documents. Together, they tell the story of how the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 — a law Congress passed as a panacea against its own potential self-dealing — is fundamentally flawed, both in its scope and enforcement.

Among the many findings, Insider reporters working on this project discovered that at least 71 members of Congress and 182 senior-level congressional staffers have violated the STOCK Act in recent months, and nearly 75 federal lawmakers held stocks in COVID-19 vaccine makers Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and/or Pfizer in 2020, with many of them buying or selling these stocks in the early weeks of the pandemic.

The “Conflicted Congress” database rates each member of Congress on their compliance with federal conflict-of-interest laws, avoidance of potential conflicts, and commitment to transparency regarding personal finances — and offers an exclusive, searchable and sortable dataset of lawmakers’ personal finances for the benefit of other media and the public. Readers can explore by individual lawmaker or by state and utilizes a simple and clear color ranking system to easily understand levels of conflict.

The investigation has sparked a national conversation about whether to ban federal lawmakers from owning and trading individual stocks. It’s likewise prompted a variety of political actors — from advocacy organizations, to editorial pages, to members of Congress themselves — to take action.

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