Political Profits: Here are The Top 10 Stocks Held by Congress

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(By Rebecca LipmanCongressional investor data collected by Ritzhold)

It is no secret that the rules of insider trading loosely apply, or do not apply, to congressmen and senators,  which has often aided them in making large and perfectly legal profits in the market.

The Power of Insider Information

Various researchers have shown that over the past years, congressional representatives (and their staffs) outperform by anywhere from 6% to 25% annually, much better than the “average” investor, reports Zachary Karabell of The Daily Beast.

“The fact is, if you sit on a healthcare committee and you know that Medicare, for example, is– is considering not reimbursing for a certain drug that’s market moving information. And if you can trade stock on that information and do so legally, that’s a great profit making opportunity.

And that sort of behavior goes on,” said Peter Schweizer in an interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft. Schweizer is a fellow at the Hoover Institution who is working on a book about soft corruption in Washington.

Congressmen and senators are much more likely to have access to this kind of non-public information that will give them a leg up in buying and selling stocks profitably. They also have the ability to pass legislation that could help out the profits of the companies that they hold.

For the ordinary citizen, this use of insider information would be highly illegal, but congressional lawmakers have no corporate responsibilities and have long been considered exempt from insider trading laws.

Investing Ideas

Unethical as this protected level of insider trading may be, it does provide the casual investor an interesting basis for stock tips. After all, a senator who sits in a meeting then runs out to buy or sell specific industry stocks can be a strong indicator of what is to come.

So with that in mind, we wanted to take a look at the top stocks being held by members of Congress.

Fortunately, Barry Ritzhold of The Big Picture compiled a list of the top favorite stock holdings of Congress. We list the top 10 names here, along with relevant data on the top congressional investors..

What do you think – is there a good reason Congress has taken a fancy to these companies?

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1. General Electric (GE ): Operates as a technology, service, and finance company worldwide. Members invested: 75. Total value of holdings (min - max): $3.58 million -$11.41 million. Top Congressional Investors: Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.) – $1 million to $5 million, John Kerry (D.-Mass.) – $616,004 to $1.315 million, Michael McCaul (R.-Texas) – $400,003 to $850,000.

2. Procter & Gamble (PG): Provides consumer packaged goods in the United States and internationally. Members invested: 62. Total value of holdings (min - max): $8.72 million - $39.42 million. Top Congressional Investors: Rodney Frelinghuysen (R.-N.J.) – $7.07 million to $35.15 million, Michael McCaul (R.-Texas) – $200,002 to $500,000, James B. Renacci (R.-Ohio) – $180,485 to$222,482.

3. Bank of America (BAC): Provides banking and financial services to individuals, small- and middle-market businesses, corporations, and governments primarily in the United States and internationally. Members invested: 57. Total value of holdings (min - max): $2.83 million - $5.41 million. Top Congressional Investors: Rodney Frelinghuysen (R.-N.J.) – $1.02 million to $1.08 million, John M. Spratt Jr. (D.-S.C.) – $500,001 to $1 million, Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.) – $500,001 to $1 million.

4. Microsoft (MSFT): Develops, licenses, and supports a range of software products and services for various computing devices worldwide. Members invested: 56. Total value of holdings (min - max): $3.22 million - $6.43 million. Top Congressional Investors: John Kerry (D.-Mass.) – $1.77 million to $2.55 million, Michael McCaul (R.-Texas) – $515,003 to $1.05 million, Jane Harman (D.-Calif.) – $130,003 to $350,000 .

5. Cisco Systems (CSCO): Designs, manufactures, and sells Internet protocol (IP)-based networking and other products related to the communications and information technology industry worldwide. Members invested: 56. Total value of holdings (min - max): $1.27 million - $3.24 million. Top Congressional Investors: John Kerry (D.-Mass.) – $602,005 to $1.28 million, Richard L Hanna (R.-N.Y.) – $100,000 to $250,000, Jane Harman (D.–Calif.) – $100,000 to $200,000.

6. Pfizer (PFE): Pfizer, a biopharmaceutical company, offers prescription medicines for humans and animals worldwide. Members invested: 51. Total value of holdings (min - max): $2.04 million - $4.61 million. Top Congressional Investors: John Kerry (D.-Mass.) – $752,004 to $1.53 million, F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R.-Wis.) – $507,005 to $1 million, Kurt Schrader (D.-Ore.) – $265,002 to $550,000.

7. Intel (INTC): Engages in the design, manufacture, and sale of integrated circuits for computing and communications industries worldwide. Members invested: 47. Total value of holdings (min - max): $1.28 million - $3.21 million. Top Congressional Investors: John Kerry (D.-Mass.) – $602,005 to $1.28 million, Michael McCaul (R.-Texas) – $200,002 to $500,000, Jane Harman (D.-Calif.) – $130,003 to $350,000.

8. Wells Fargo (WFC): Provides retail, commercial, and corporate banking services primarily in the United States. Members invested: 45. Total value of holdings (min - max): $1.71 million - $4.28 million. Top Congressional Investors: John Kerry (D.-Mass.) – $351,003 to $765,000, Sander Levin (D.-Mich.) – $250,001 to $500,000, David Vitter (R.-La.) – $126,007 to $365,000.

9. AT&T (T): Provides telecommunication services to consumers, businesses, and other service providers worldwide. Members invested: 44. Total value of holdings (min - max): $2.23 million - $4.08 million. Top Congressional Investors: John Kerry (D.-Mass.) – $1.52 million to $2.07 million, F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R.-Wis.) – $105,877 to $255,876, Richard L Hanna (R.-N.Y.) – $100,001 to $250,000.

10. Exxon Mobil (XOM): Engages in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas, and manufacture of petroleum products, as well as transportation and sale of crude oil, natural gas, and petroleum products. Members invested: 42. Total value of holdings (min - max): $2.74 million - $11.09 million. Top Congressional Investors: John Carter (R.-Texas) – $1 million to $5 million, F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R.-Wis.) – $551,185 to $1.05 million, Michael McCaul (R.-Texas) – $500,002 to $1 million. 



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Investing Ideas , Stocks , US Markets


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