Thursday, June 18, 2009

Congress; The Special Interest Elite!

Ever wonder why the government rewarded the Banks after it was acknowledged they had committed extensive fraud, well here’s a part of the puzzle:

Each year members of Congress are required to file a financial disclosure statement setting out their financial dealings and relationships during the preceding year.

Not surprisingly the 2008 disclosures, those filed so far, show that a majority of Congress held stock in the banks that were failing, banks they were intent to save, Bank of America, Goldman Sacks, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and a couple of additional banks whose status is unclear, Regions Bank, and Zions Bancor.

For example nearly half of the members of the Senate Banking Committee had holdings in financial institutions that have taken funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The panel has jurisdiction over the bailout fund and other relief to save both the nation's financial system, and their own individual wealth.

Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), (a Banking panel member), has assets in several banks that have taken bailout funds including Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America. Bank of America has received $45 billion in government funds.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) holds assets in Morgan Stanley and Citibank. Morgan Stanley received $10 billion in TARP money while Citigroup was given $25 billion from the program.

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), also invested in some of the banks that received federal money. In a separate trust that the senator does not oversee, Kohl had assets in JP Morgan Chase funds, which received $25 billion in bailout money.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) holds stock in Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) owns stock in Regions Bank, based in Alabama, and Zions Bancorp, a Salt Lake City company. Both have received TARP money.

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) owns shares of Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, However Johanns was not a member of Congress when the TARP vote occurred.

Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) sold three-dozen investments he had in various mutual funds and individual retirement accounts run by Morgan Stanley, though he does not have money invested “directly” in firms that were bailed out. He does hold interest in them through his mutual fund holdings.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) has significant holdings in many companies that have received government aid. Corker had interests in more than a dozen bailed-out companies.

Corker filed for an extension; Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) also filed for an extension, and three Democrats sitting on the panel also filed for extensions to file their financial disclosure reports. Freshmen Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) along with the committee's chairman, Christopher Dodd (D-Conn) their reports are due in August.

Interestingly, if these banks had been allowed to fail, we would have had fewer Millionaires in congress. By funding the banks they also funded their individual net worth.

How sweet it is to be able to use taxpayer money to salvage your own finances.

For anyone investing in the stock market, follow the money, safe bets seem to be in the areas where the lobbyists are the most visible, look at where Congress members invest and follow there lead, the Pharmaceuticals, the Military, the Insurance, Hospitals and Oil, it’s a sure bet congress will protect its own interest above yours!