Written by on October 13, 2022


Shared By Peter Boykin – American Political Commentator / Citizen Journalist



Thousands of executive branch employees owned and traded stocks in companies their agencies directly oversee, raising ethical concerns over whether these federal employees were creating policies to benefit their own investments.

The scope of the investigation:

The Wall Street Journal reached out to 50 different federal agencies, from the Commerce Department to the Treasury Department, and collected a total of 31,000 financial disclosure forms from 2016 to 2021.

What was uncovered in that trove of documents:

More than 2,600 federal officials were owning and traded stocks in companies while those same companies were lobbying their agencies.

Here are some examples:

The Food and Drug Administration improperly let an official own dozens of food and drug stocks on its no-buy list.

A Defense Department official bought stock in a defense company five times before it won new business from the Pentagon.

More than 200 senior EPA officials, nearly one in three, reported investments in companies that were lobbying the agency.

…and these are just a few.

I’ll link to the full report at the bottom.

Is this illegal?

The short answer is, mostly no.

There are ethics rules in place regarding stock trades, but the federal government also carves out a lot of exemptions that allow employees to get around the rules.

And according to the WSJ report:

“When financial holdings caused a conflict, the agencies sometimes simply waived the rules.”

Big picture:

This type of legalized corruption isn’t unique to the executive branch. The legislative branch does the same thing. Last year Nancy Pelosi, who has gotten filthy rich by investing in stocks she directly affects, rejected a bill that would have prevented members of congress and their spouses from trading individual stocks.

[You can read the full report here.]


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