- Members of Congress profited from selling defense company stocks, many after voting in favor of sending billions in weapons to Ukraine.
- While unforeseen demand has left top weapons makers scrambling to meet production targets, defense stocks are performing well overall, according to Investopedia.
- Several Republican lawmakers bought defense stocks but voted against Ukraine aid.
Members of Congress raked in profits from defense contractor stocks after voting to send billions in military aid to Ukraine, according to financial disclosures and voting records reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The U.S. has delivered more than $20 billion worth of military aid to Ukraine between Jan. 24, a month before Russia invaded, and Nov. 20, according to data compiled by the Council on Foreign Relations, and Congress has approved billions more in spending on Ukraine. To make up for that aid, top defense companies have boosted production, and lawmakers trading on company stocks saw a financial windfall as a result, according to publicly available stock trading data.
Overall, Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon netted the highest average returns on defense company stocks since 2021 at 40%, according to a chart published Tuesday by Unusual Whales, a site known for exposing how members of Congress profit from trading related to legislative issues. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who has voted against Ukraine aid, was the top Republican at 35.5%. (RELATED: Congress Just Gave The Weapons Industry A Massive Paycheck. Here’s What That Means For US Defense)
While unforeseen demand has left top weapons makers, like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman, scrambling to meet production targets, defense stocks are performing well overall, according to Investopedia.
Republican Florida Rep. John Rutherford and Blumenauer each bought up to $15,000 in Raytheon stock the day of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24. Rutherford claimed in his disclosure that his advisers erroneously purchased the stock, and it was sold on March 14 for a 3% gain, according to Unusual Whales.
Rutherford, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, and Blumenauer voted for a $40 billion supplemental military and humanitarian aid package for Ukraine passed in May, the Congressional Record shows.
Former Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne of Iowa sold Lockheed Martin stock for a profit in November, after voting in favor not only of the May supplemental package, but also for a September emergency funding bill that authorized an additional $12 billion in weapons for Ukraine, according to the Congressional Record.
Lawmakers voted with the majority of their party on that measure and the and the omnibus spending bill passed in December, which includes an additional $45 billion in Ukraine aid, the Congressional Record shows. All Democrats supported the continuing resolution in September and all but one voted yea on the omnibus bill, Business Insider reported.
Democratic Rep. Dwight Evans of Pennsylvania also reported a Raytheon sale in November from stock purchased before the war, meaning he voted for the funding bills while having a stake in a top-selling defense company.
Republican West Virginia Rep. Carol Miller’s spouse bought General Dynamics stock in July 2021 and has not disclosed a sale, so Miller’s spouse may have held that stock while the representative voted in favor of the May package. Republican Utah Rep. John Curtis, who also voted to send more aid, has not disclosed a sale since purchasing up to $15,000 in Raytheon in June 2021.
Democratic Virginia Rep. Gerald Connolly, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), sold up to $50,000 in assets from defense information technology firm Leidos in August 2022 after slowly offloading stocks throughout 2021. Connolly co-sponsored a House initiative to send military aid to Ukraine days after Russia invaded, meaning he held Leidos stocks while advocating to supersize U.S. military support abroad.
HFAC member and Democratic North Carolina Rep. Kathy Manning’s spouse held Lockheed Martin stocks while she supported that same resolution, and later in 2022 she revealed that either she or her husband held stock in Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and defense IT company L3Harris. Manning’s spouse sold Raytheon stock on Oct. 12 after Manning voted in favor of the September continuing resolution.
Republican Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer sold up to $100,000 in Lockheed Martin stock in June of 2022, but a spokesperson for the lawmaker said she inherited the stock from her mother.
Republican Utah Rep. Blake Moore likely holds stock in several major defense companies and voted for the $40 billion assistance in May.
The next day, Rep. Greene said “War and rumors of war is incredibly profitable and convenient.”
Ukraine was invaded the two days later.
— unusual_whales (@unusual_whales) November 7, 2022
Senate Armed Services Committee member Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama purchased up to $15,000 in Northrop Grumman stocks on March 30 and sold them on Oct. 5 for a 6.9% gain, Unusual Whales found. Tuberville voted against the May package.
Tuberville “has long had financial advisors who actively manage his portfolio without his day-to-day involvement,” a spokesperson for the senator told the DCNF.
Greene purchased up to $15,000 in Lockheed Martin stocks two days prior to Russia’s invasion.
“War and rumors of war is incredibly profitable and convenient,” she remarked the following day. “Just like that, the media now has a lie to use as the reason for our shattered economy and out of control inflation.”
Republican Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma purchased Raytheon and Lockheed Martin stocks twice in 2022, filings show, although he also voted against Ukraine aid. Hern does not have day-to-day control over his stock trading, a spokesperson told the DCNF.
The offices of Blumenauer, Connolly, Curtis, Evans, Frankel, Greene, Manning, Miller, Moore and Rutherford did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment. Axne could not be reached for comment.
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