Sherrod Brown has sold his stocks, and wants colleagues to sell, too
February 5, 2012
D.C. -- The U.S. Senate is preparing to vote this week on a bill that
expressly prohibit lawmakers and their staffs from using “nonpublic
information,” gained through their official duties, for their personal
end what lawmakers say is confusion about when and whether existing
insider-trading laws apply to them.
well-educated (and wealthy, for the most part) leaders really be
right, wrong and breaking the law?
considering that Congress is even considering this, Ohio Democratic
Sherrod Brown says the Senate should go a step further. Brown and
Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley are pushing an amendment to prohibit
even owning individual stocks.
would have to put their stocks in a blind trust for someone else to
independently, or sell the stocks and put the money in broad-based
measure would be broad enough to cover not only insider trading but
conflicts of interest, genuine and perceived.
example, he said during a conference call with reporters today,
“Members of the
Senate who own oil stocks shouldn’t be voting on energy issues, period.
will take care of so much of this problem in a much more fundamental,
sort of self-enforcing way. And their spouses also should not be able
amendment is not yet wildly popular.
about Brown’s own stocks?
stock in Time Warner while promoting broadband expansion, something
showed interest in, according to Brown’s own financial disclosure forms
Time Warner lobbying reports.
although Brown is on the Senate banking committee, which in 2010 helped
the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law, he held stock through a family
in J.P. Morgan Chase that year, his records show.
something wrong with that? We asked this about the Time Warner stock,
is Brown’s answer.
wasn’t,” he said. “Two answers to that.
that my dad, soon before his death 15 years ago, gave me 100 shares of
Warner. It was worth about $5,000 then. I sold it last year. I should
it years earlier. I probably didn’t because I didn’t think much about
probably partly because of my dad. And I sold it for about $2,000, or
inherited last year, after the death of my mother, a small amount --
when I say
a small amount, a few thousand dollars, literally -- of J.P. Morgan
shows in one of my reports [that] I sold it almost immediately upon
it. So I think I should not hold any of those. The total worth of those
believe, around $10,000, maybe less. I thought that selling it made the
As for as
pushing for broadband expansion at the same time as owning Time Warner,
said, “I’ve been fighting on broadband for years, on rural areas in my
and I’ll continue to. And I don’t have any idea whether it would have
Time Warner or not.
“I know it
benefits these rural communities that are trying to do start-ups,
a dairy farm or trying to start a small company or just doing school
Students in southeast Ohio need high-speed broadband.”
financial disclosure forms make it nearly impossible to tell whether a
has sold all or only part of his stock holdings. But Meghan Dubyak,
communications director, said Brown has sold all his individual stock
colleagues would have to do the same if Brown’s amendment passed.
and other articles at the Cleveland Plain Dealer