Stock trading by members of Congress has been a point of contention, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi facing scrutiny over surrounding a multimillion-dollar trade by her husband this past summer.
Yet Democrats are not the only ones raising eyebrows, as the Washington Examiner reported that a Texas GOP lawmaker is being looked at following a recent transaction.
Congressman’s attorney denies wrongdoing
According to the Examiner, Rep. Michael McCaul filed an official disclosure last month showing that in September, his wife and child sold between $61,000 and $215,000 worth of Meta, the tech company which owns Facebook.
While the sale came just two weeks before Meta’s stock declined sharply in value, McCaul’s attorney Elliot Berke insisted that there was no wrongdoing at work.
“Congressman McCaul did not purchase these stocks,” Berke told the Examiner. “Rather, his wife has assets she solely owns, and a third-party manager made the purchase without her direction,” Berke added.
However, not everyone willing to take McCaul’s explanation at face value. Skeptics include Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, who serves the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight as its government affairs manager.
Hedtler-Gaudette complained during an interview with the Examiner that the trade’s timing “looks bad.”
Critic allege sale has the “appearance of insider trading”
“It is entirely possible that the timing is coincidental, but one of the major issues with members of Congress trading stocks is that the American people are just less and less likely to give the benefit of the doubt,” Hedtler-Gaudette said.
“You can understand why an average retail investor who took a financial hit on their own Meta stocks might be suspicious that their member of Congress just so happened to be able to avoid similar losses,” he continued.
A more scathing assessment was offered by Craig Holman, who works as a government affairs lobbyist for the left-leaning think tank Public Citizen.
The Examiner quoted him as saying that McCaul’s trading amounted to “astounding behavior,” in light of the lawmaker’s ability to “glean insider information on events that will affect the stock market.”
“Whether he used such insider information to sell off Meta stock before the crash, or if it was just sheer luck, we cannot know,” Holman acknowledged. “However, it has every appearance of insider trading and thus poses a significant political liability for McCaul.”