A first-term Democratic congressman representing Wall Street has become one of Congress’s most prolific stock traders, and recently sold shares in a troubled California bank just days before the stock plummeted in value.
Rep. Dan Goldman, who represents a congressional district that includes Lower Manhattan’s Financial District in New York City, sold up to $15,000 in shares of PacWest Bancorp on March 6, according to his financial disclosures. The sale came just two days before the stock of the Beverly Hills-based bank holding company plummeted in value as investors fled from small and mid-sized banks amid news of Silicon Valley Bank’s pending failure.
PacWest’s stock was valued at $27.40 when Goldman sold his shares but dropped to about $5.75 as of Friday, entering a freefall after Silicon Valley Bank collapsed on March 10.
‘The timing doesn’t look good, and that’s for sure,’ Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette of the Project on Government Oversight told the Washington Examiner. ‘It’s just another reason why the practice of members of Congress trading stocks is so problematic.’
The PacWest trade is one of hundreds that Goldman has made during his short time in Congress, where he has quickly becoming one of the most prolific stock traders. Goldman made more than 500 trades worth between $10 million and nearly $31 million since being sworn in as a congressman in January, his disclosure forms reveal.
Goldman, a multimillionaire and heir to the Levi Straus & Co. fortune, sits on the Committee on Homeland Security and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. While in those positions, he bought up to $50,000 in Northrop Grumman, one of the country’s biggest defense contractors, as well as up to $15,000 each in weapons manufacturers Raytheon Technologies and L3 Harris Technologies.
Goldman’s office told Fox News Digital that the congressman doesn’t manage his own stock trades and backs legislation to ban federal lawmakers from trading stocks.
‘Congressman Goldman is not involved in trading stocks in his portfolio, which is managed entirely by an investment adviser, with whom he has had no discussions about any stock trades since entering Congress,’ said Goldman spokesperson Simone Kanter. ‘The congressman supports legislation to prohibit members of Congress from trading stocks and immediately initiated the complicated process of entering into a blind trust upon entering Congress.’
Goldman is hardly alone in trading stocks as a member of Congress, even if he’s doing so at a higher rate.
Last Friday, Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., disclosed that she sold up to $15,000 in shares of First Republic Bank stock on March 16, and then bought up to $15,000 in JPMorgan stock shares on March 22. The congresswoman told the Daily Caller that her ‘account is managed independently by a money manager who buys and sells stocks at his discretion.’
Stock trading is a bipartisan pastime in Congress not just confined to Democrats. Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, sold up to $15,000 in First Republic Bank shares on March 16, when shares traded around $34 per share. They now sit at $0.35 per share.
Perhaps the member of Congress most notorious for her stock activity is Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who’s been long criticized for her husband’s profitable trades in companies she has worked to subsidize.
Critics argue that lawmakers can use their positions in Congress to profit from insider trading, in part since they have the ability to influence policies that can help or hurt certain companies and industries. Goldman’s frequent stock trading and close proximity to Wall Street may make him especially susceptible to such criticism.
Members of Congress are increasingly supporting legislation banning lawmakers from trading stocks. Last month, senators introduced a bill that would prohibit Congress from buying or selling stocks and mandate divestment or holdings to be placed into a blind trust.
The issue of banning stock trading has created unusual alliances in Congress. Earlier this week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., teamed up to introduce legislation that would similarly ban lawmakers, their spouses, and dependents from trading stocks.
‘AOC is wrong a lot, she’d probably say the same thing about me, but she’s not corrupt,’ said Gaetz. ‘And I will work with anyone and everyone to ensure that Congress is not so compromised.’
Members of Congress reportedly traded $788 million worth of securities last year. According to an analysis by the popular stock-trading news site Unusual Whales, many lawmakers beat the stock market on total returns, despite Wall Street suffering its worst year since 2008.