Money Talks? The Link Between Congressional Stock Trading And Corporate Lobbying

Zinger Key Points
  • In 2021, members of Congress made over 4,000 trades across more than 900 publicly traded companies.
  • Over 400 of the companies that were bought and sold by members of Congress in 2021 actively lobbied Congress during the year.

A popular Twitter account that offers insight into the trades made by members of Congress has released a new report that might increase calls to ban the practice. 

What Happened: A newly released report from Unusual Whales called “Lobbying’s influence on Congress and Congressional trading” shares a look at the top lobbying companies in 2021 and the members of Congress who actively traded off companies that lobbied at the Capitol. 

“I just analyzed how lobbying influences Congressional trading. Congress is more likely to trade if companies lobbied to them,” UnusualWhales tweeted.

The report says lobbying in U.S. politics topped $2 billion in 2021. The report also showed that lobbying companies were more likely to be invested in by members of Congress than nonlobbying companies.

Among the biggest issues that saw heavy lobbying in 2021 were taxes, budget, health care, trade, transportation, labor issues, copyright, environmental, financial institutions, telecoms, homeland security and energy.

Related Link: Exclusive: Unusual Whales Creates Nancy Pelosi ETF So You Can Track Her Trades 

Congress Trading On Lobbying: In 2021, members of Congress made over 4,000 trades across more than 900 publicly traded companies.

Over 400 of the companies that were bought and sold by members of Congress in 2021 actively lobbied Congress during the year.

A total of 92 members of Congress had shares of companies that lobbied Congress in their portfolios in 2021, broken down as 46 Republicans, 45 Democrats and 1 independent.

Some of the largest lobbying amounts in 2021 came from Meta Platforms FB, Amazon.com Inc AMZN, Raytheon Technologies RTX, Lockheed Martin LMT, Boeing Inc BA, Comcast Corp CMCSA, Microsoft Corporation MSFT, Alphabet Inc GOOGGOOGL and Apple Inc AAPL.

One key example given for how lobbying could impact Congress was FuelCell Energy Inc FCEL. The company spent $120,000 lobbying Congress to get tax credits. Rep. Austin Scott bought shares in October 2020 at $2 and sold them in 2021 for $17.60.

Scott tops the leaderboard for top returns by members of Congress on stock trades from companies that lobbied Congress in 2021. Here were the top 10 trades in 2021:

  • Austin Scott: FuelCell, +780%
  • Alan Lowenthal: DraftKings Inc DKNG, +253%
  • Don Beyer: Block Inc SQ: +242%
  • Alan Lowenthal: Virgin Galactic Inc SPCE: +234%
  • Thomas Suozzi: Block Inc, +205%
  • John Curtis: Applie Materials AMAT, +200%
  • Katherine Clark: Alphabet, +163%
  • John Curtis: Lam Research Corporation LRCX, +162%
  • John Curtis: Deere & Company DE, +158%
  • Nancy Pelosi: Apple (options), +157%

Lowenthal appeared on the list twice and Curtis appeared three times, ranking as the possible biggest benefactors of trading off of companies that lobbied Congress.

Pelosi also ranked 11th, with her Tesla Inc TSLA options gaining 154%.

The report from UnusualWhales could strengthen the argument that members of Congress should not be allowed to buy and sell stocks while in office as they are privy to information that may not be public. UnusualWhales recently highlighted members of Congress buying defense stocks prior to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Posted In: Alan LowenthalAustin ScottCongressCongress tradesDon BeyerJohn CurtisKatherine ClarklobbyingNancy PelosiThomas SuozziUnusualWhalesNewsPenny StocksPoliticsSmall CapGeneral