Sen. Elizabeth Warren blasts ‘brazenness’ of lawmakers who flouted a federal law meant to stop congressional insider trading

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testify during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testify during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren called out the “brazenness” of lawmakers who flouted a federal disclosure law.
  • An Insider investigation found that dozens of members of Congress violated the STOCK Act. 
  • The “Conflicted Congress” project found members of Congress trading stocks in industries they’ve criticized. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren denounced the “brazenness” of members of Congress who have flouted a federal law meant to stem insider trading in Congress and called for stronger enforcement in response to a new Insider investigation. 

“Conflicted Congress,” a five-month Insider investigation, found 49 members of Congress and 182 senior-level congressional staffers have violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, commonly known as the STOCK Act. The 2012 federal conflict-of-interest law requires members and staff to disclose their stock trades and seeks to prevent those in the halls of power from personally cashing in on the information they learn behind closed doors. 

The investigation found dozens of cases of lawmakers trading stocks in industries and companies, like big tech firms, pharmaceutical companies, and fossil fuel producers, that they directly oversee or have publicly criticized. 

“We need both tougher laws and enforcement of those laws,” the Massachusetts Democrat told Insider in an interview at the Capitol on Tuesday. “The American people should never have to guess whether or not an elected official is advancing an issue or voting on a bill based on what’s good for the country or what’s good for their own personal financial interests.” 

Warren called out the “brazenness of people who think it’s okay to be in a position of trust to represent the people of this country, and at the same time to be working to advance your own financial interests,” adding, “it’s just wrong.” 

When it comes to financial wrongdoing, Congress acts its own policeman, resulting in little accountability in many cases.

Warren, a consumer protection lawyer who taught at Harvard Law School, has consistently advocated for stronger financial transparency requirements for members of Congress and government officials. In 2020, she re-introduced a bill to ban members of Congress from trading individual stocks.  

Warren told Insider that for now, the solution “starts with just enforcement.” 

“Bring the charges, pull them out. Make it clear publicly,” she said. “The strongest enforcement is to make known what they are doing and for the voters to retire them forcibly.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Some federal lawmakers and their staffers are all in on cryptocurrency speculation as Congress mulls how (or how not) to regulate the coins

US Senator from Wyoming, Cynthia Lummis.
Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming has invested in cryptocurrency.

  • At least five lawmakers invested in brokerage firms involved in crypto or other digital assets in 2020 and 2021.
  • At least 21 congressional staffers have also invested in the market.
  • Crypto experts predicted that the number of federal lawmakers investing in crypto would grow.

Lawmakers are torn about how to regulate cryptocurrency. But that hasn’t stopped some members of Congress and their senior staffers from investing in it.

At least one senator and four US House representatives have bought stock in cryptocurrency-related companies or invested with brokerage firms that work with this emerging market, according to an Insider analysis of federal records detailing the lawmakers’ personal finances for 2020.

Meanwhile, Congress has been introducing legislative proposals aimed at better regulating crypto. 

Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a Republican of Wyoming who sits on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, is an outlier among her colleagues. In 2020, she reported investing up to $250,000 in Unchained Capital, a bitcoin-based financial-services company. She’s among a handful of members of Congress who accept cryptocurrency campaign contributions.

 

But Lummis was several days late reporting a purchase in August of up to $100,000 in Bitcoin. Lummis’s spokeswoman Abegail Cave told Insider that the Wyoming senator “has gone above and beyond to comply with federal law and Senate Ethics requirements regarding financial disclosures.”

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a Republican of New Jersey, reported up to $250,000 in “an investment trust” operated by Grayscale, the world’s largest digital-currency asset-management firm. The office of Van Dew did not respond to Insiders comment on what kind of investment trust he has with the firm.

Democratic Rep. Jake Auchincloss, a 33-year-old freshman of Massachusetts, reported up to $15,000 in Flipside Crypto Investor Holdings.

 

Rep. Barry Moore, a Republican of Alabama, reported investing up to $15,000 with a brokerage firm in Coffee, Alabama. The description of the firm on his financial disclosure said “crypto currency.” His office did not respond to Insider’s request for comment on which brokerage firm he was using. His disclosure said the firm paid $2,501 to $5,000 in dividends in 2020.

Jim Newman, the husband of Rep. Marie Newman, a Democrat of Illinois, has traded stock in the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase at least 16 times. The most recent trade, a sale valued at $50,001 to $100,000, occurred in November.

 

Also in November, Newman’s husband purchased up to $50,000 worth of stock in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.

Congressional ethics officials say that the “most comprehensive approach” for lawmakers to “eliminate conflicts of interests and the appearance of them” is to form what’s known as a qualified blind trust, a financial vehicle the House or Senate ethics committee approves that a trustee manages independently.

Most members of Congress have not established qualified blind trusts, which are often expensive and time-consuming to establish.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the US Capitol on October 07, 2021.
A staff director for the Senate Republican Communications Center under Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell invests in crypto.

Staffers charge into crypto

Lawmakers are not the only ones getting in on the cryptocurrency action.

Insider identified 21 high-ranking congressional staffers or their spouses who in 2020 and 2021 bought or sold cryptocurrencies, including ethereum and dogecoin, a cryptocurrency originally created as a joke among crypto enthusiasts that’s grown in value over the past year.

The tally is part of the exhaustive Conflicted Congress project, in which Insider reviewed nearly 9,000 financial-disclosure reports for every sitting lawmaker and their top-ranking staffers.

Senior staffers and some other aides on Capitol Hill are bound by federal law to file timely reports about all their stock transactions and other outside earnings if they make more than $132,552 annually. That’s generally the salary minimum for chiefs of staff; the staffers and aides also include chief counsels, legislative directors, and staff members who work on committees and advise lawmakers on policy.

The extent to which other Capitol Hill office employees with lower salaries hold cryptocurrency and crypto-related stocks is unknown because they are not required to disclose it.

Kristin Walker, Lummis’ chief of staff, told Insider that she started investing in bitcoin in the summer of 2020, before Lummis was elected and before she came to work on the Hill.

“Wyoming has been at the forefront of digital assets for the past few years, and I learned about it through Wyoming’s efforts,” Walker said.

Another crypto investor was Scott Sloofman, the staff director for the Senate Republican Communications Center under Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He purchased between $1,001 to $15,000-worth of Coinbase shares in April. He did not respond to Insider’s inquiry about his investments. 

More senior staffers than lawmakers have invested in cryptocurrency does not come as a surprise to Ron Hammond, the director of government affairs for the Blockchain Association. 

“There has been a massive uptick in staffers who either have crypto or are really interested in the issue, and I think it’s more of a generational thing,” Hammond, who worked on Capitol Hill as a former congressional staffer for many years.

The average age of members of the House at the beginning of the current 117th Congress was 58.4 years, according to the Library of Congress. The average age for senators was 64.3 years.

The idea of lawmakers and congressional staffers investing in cryptocurrency is exciting, Hammond said. 

“For those who want to get involved in crypto legislation, it’s important to maybe have some foot in it,” he said. “It does help increase your knowledge about how everything is supposed to work or you know what some flaws may be.”

Elizabeth Warren
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat of Massachusetts, is a crypto skeptic.

Congress tries to get a grip on digital assets

Crypto chatter has ratcheted up on Capitol Hill in recent months as supporters and opponents of digital assets sketch out their respective visions about what the future might hold. 

In early June, Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia and Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri proposed tightening cryptocurrency rules to better trace electronic payments to ransomware attackers

A few weeks later, Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat of California who also chairs the House Committee on Financial Services, told attendees at a subcommittee hearing that she and her colleagues are “committed to providing not only more transparency in this minimally-regulated industry, but to ensuring that appropriate safeguards are in place.”

“So we have begun a thorough examination of this marketplace,” the 16-term lawmaker announced during a two-hour discussion weighing whether cryptocurrencies would lead to financial independence or fiscal ruin. 

Along the way, House lawmakers quietly passed a bipartisan bill instructing the Federal Trade Commission to provide Congress with recommendations “to further protect consumers from unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the digital token marketplace.” 

Come late July, Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat of Michigan who also chairs the House Homeland Security subcommittee on intelligence and counterterrorism, urged administration officials to lay out their wish list now for stronger cryptocurrency curbs. “If you need changes to legislation, if you need resources, we want to hear more from you, not less,” Slotkin said during a 90-minute discussion tagged “terrorism and digital financing.” 

Earlier this month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a crypto skeptic who’s characterized it as “unreliable tech” with “unpredictable fees,” said the industry harmed the planet by necessitating huge, energy-sucking mines, computer facilities designed to solve complex math problems to obtain the digital coins.

 

“Cryptomining has huge environmental costs & is raising energy prices for consumers. Bitcoin alone consumes as much energy as Washington state,” the Massachusetts Democrat tweeted.

A few days later, House lawmakers quizzed the CEOs of a half-dozen crypto-focused companies about their business practices.

The six witnesses, who handle everything from the logistics of mining bitcoin to branching out into other blockchain-based investments, spent four hours answering questions about the pros and cons of cryptocurrencies and their place in the modern economy. 

Daniel Gallagher, the chief legal officer for the financial-services company Robinhood, tried to manage expectations ahead of the hearing, telling CNBC that “it’s a stretch to believe that there will be legislation coming out on crypto anytime soon.”

Representative Tom Emmer sitting down at the House Financial Services Committee meeting
Rep. Tom Emmer, a Republican from Minnesota, is a cryptocurrency advocate whose re-election campaign committee accepts bitcoin. His personal financial records indicate that he personally does not invest in crypto.

Crypto associations bulk up lobbying efforts

The flurry of talks surrounding regulation has prompted more cryptocurrency associations to strengthen their lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill.

By August, cryptocurrency interests had collectively spent $2.4 million lobbying the federal government, including Congress, according to OpenSecrets, a nonpartisan research organization that tracks money in politics.

The interests lobbied against portions of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that would impose new tax-reporting requirements on crypto brokers that could pave the way for stronger regulations.

The lobbying efforts were unsuccessful. President Joe Biden signed the infrastructure bill into law in November. The crypto-broker policy is expected to raise $28 billion over 10 years to help fund infrastructure projects, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Five years ago, the House created the bipartisan Congressional Blockchain Caucus to consider policymaking. One of the leaders of the group was Mick Mulvaney, a Republican congressman from South Carolina who later became President Donald Trump’s chief of staff. 

The current chairmen of the caucus are GOP Reps. Tom Emmer of Minnesota and David Schweikert of Arizona and Democratic Reps. Bill Foster of Illinois and Darren Soto of Florida. None reported holding any cryptocurrencies in their 2020 financial disclosures.

Emmer told MinnPost in October that he started reading about crypto after one of his staffers left the book “The Age of Cryptocurrency” on his desk back in 2015 or 2016. He has introduced several crypto-related bills, including the Securities Clarity Act, which would allow regulators to categorize cryptocurrencies as either a commodity, a security, or a currency. 

But overall, lawmakers have been slow to embrace cryptocurrency because it hasn’t been around for a long time, Najah Roberts, the founder of Crypto Blockchain Plug, a brick-and-mortar cryptocurrency exchange and education center, told Insider.

“They are afraid of that technology,” she said.

Roberts said she hoped more lawmakers would invest in the market.

“It will be great if they do because then that will give them a better understanding on how to acquire the asset, how they feel about securing the asset,” she said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Meet the 25 wealthiest members of Congress

Rick Scott, Michael McCaul, Darrell Issa, Vern Buchanan, and Dianne Feinstein with dollar signs in the background
From Left: Rick Scott, Michael McCaul, Darrell Issa, Vern Buchanan, Dianne Feinstein

  • We estimated the net worth of members of Congress by analyzing financial-disclosure reports.
  • The reports cover 2020 and provide the most up-to-date estimate of members’ net worth.
  • The wealthiest 15 members were worth at least $1.3 billion, half of Congress’ wealth.

Each year, every member of Congress is required to file a detailed report disclosing their financial holdings. Designed for transparency, the disclosures provide insight into each member of Congress’ wealth and assets — and occasionally reveal potential conflicts of interest and violations of federal law.

Insider compiled members’ annual disclosures filed this year, analyzing thousands of pages of documents to estimate the minimum and maximum net worth of members of the US Senate and the US House of Representatives, including nonvoting delegates. Members disclose the value of their assets in broad ranges.

The documents cover 2020, a year in which the world’s richest people grew their fortunes by trillions of dollars. The 2020 financial disclosures are the most up-to-date financial documentation from Congress — disclosures from 2021 are not required to be filed until mid-May. Filers for the 2020 fiscal year were allotted an extra three months to submit their disclosures because of the pandemic.

Three newer members of Congress — Reps. Troy Carter, Melanie Stansbury, and Jake Ellzey — have not filed their official financial-disclosure reports. Insider used these members’ “candidate reports,” some of which include financial data from 2021.

Members of Congress come from a wide range of backgrounds — from local politics to business and entrepreneurship to professional sports — and their fortunes vary greatly. The wealthiest 15 members together had an estimated net worth of at least $1.3 billion, accounting for half of Congress’ total estimated wealth.

Read more about Insider’s methodology.

Starting at number 25, here are the wealthiest members of Congress based on their minimum estimated net worth:

25. Rep. Sara Jacobs, a Democrat from California: $21,428,125

Rep. Sara Jacobs
Rep. Sara Jacobs

A newcomer to Congress in 2021, nearly all of Jacobs’ wealth is stored in a trust that was created in 2009. The trust contains government securities, mutual funds, and more than $6 million in stock of Qualcomm, a semiconductor company co-founded by her grandfather, Irwin M. Jacobs. 

Other notable stocks owned by Jacobs includes more than $100,000 invested in stocks of Apple, Microsoft, and Mastercard.

Jacobs listed one liability in her financial disclosure: a mortgage on a Washington, DC, property worth at least $500,000.

24. Rep. John Rose, a Republican from Tennessee: $23,362,065

Rep John Rose
Rep. John Rose.

Rose, who joined Congress in 2019, reported an ownership stake in several residential buildings across the country. Rose also owned at least $500,000 worth of stock in Citizens Bank and more than $100,000 worth of Alphabet stock, and he reported 100% ownership of Rose Farm, worth between $5 million and $25 million.

Rose submitted information for one liability: a monthly balance on his credit card amounting to at least $15,001.

23. Rep. Fred Upton, a Republican from Michigan: $24,692,218

Rep. Fred Upton
Rep. Fred Upton.

Upton’s fortune mainly derives from an appliance company that his grandfather founded, Whirlpool, which the congressman reported holding at least $1 million of stock in. Upton also reported having at least $1 million in Pepsi stock. Other notable holdings of Upton’s include Apple, Raytheon, Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook, and Texas Instruments.

The representative reported one liability: a mortgage worth at least $15,001 through JPMorgan Chase.

22. Rep. Dean Phillips, a Democrat from Minnesota: $24,778,495

Rep. Dean Phillips
Rep. Dean Phillips.

Phillips has an ownership stake in several businesses, various stock holdings, mutual funds, government securities, various life insurance policies, and hedge funds. He is a cofounder of Penny’s Coffee, a Minnesota-based coffee shop chain, a former chairman for Talenti Gelato, and the former CEO of Phillips Distilling Company.

Phillips held more than $250,000 worth of Apple stock, at least $50,000 worth of Facebook stock, and over $1 million in the SPDR S&P 500 Trust ETF.

Phillips, who joined Congress in 2019, reported at least $2 million in liabilities in the form of mortgages.

In July, Phillips placed his assets in a qualified blind trust approved by the House Committee on Ethics, meaning he’ll retain little control over his assets while he’s a member of Congress.

21. Rep. Kevin Hern, a Republican from Oklahoma: $26,761,380

Rep. Kevin Hern, a Republican of Oklahoma, speaks during a Republican Study Committee press conference on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.
Rep. Kevin Hern.

Hern’s wealth is split between trusts and IRAs belonging to him and his immediate family. The trusts contain a combination of mutual funds, stocks, and electronic funds. Notable stocks held by Hern and his family included more than $250,000 worth of Amazon, at least $100,000 worth of Alphabet, and more than $530,000 worth of Microsoft.

Hern disclosed two liabilities: at least $500,000 used to purchase a McDonald’s restaurant, and at least $1 million that his spouse used to buy a separate company.

In 2021, Hern violated the STOCK Act by failing to properly disclose stock trades worth at least $1.06 million and as much as $2.7 million. Hern joined the House of Representatives in 2018.

20. Rep. Kathy Manning, a Democrat from Michigan: $27,202,287

Rep. Kathy Manning
Rep. Kathy Manning.

Manning’s fortune is split among government securities, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, real property, and stocks. Notable stocks that Manning or her spouse held included Alphabet, Apple, Starbucks, Disney, Microsoft, Nike, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer.

Manning also reported an ownership interest in Stonefield Cellars Winery in North Carolina. 

The congresswoman reported two liabilities owned by her spouse: lines of credit amounting to more than $1.5 million.

She is a newcomer to Congress, joining the ranks in 2021.

19. Rep. Don Beyer, a Democrat from Virginia: $29,805,092

Don Beyer
Rep. Don Beyer.

All of Beyer’s assets were jointly owned, in a combination of stocks, government securities, and real property.

Beyer reported at least $8.6 million in liabilities, almost all of which were mortgages on various properties he owned.

18. Rep. David Trone, a Democrat from Maryland: $32,927,094

David Trone
Rep. David Trone.

Trone’s wealth is divvied up among mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and ownership of several shops across the country specializing in wine, beer, and spirits: Total Wine & More.

Trone’s wife independently owned stock in Alphabet, Apple, and Pepsi, among others. He reported one liability in his financial filings: a business loan worth at least $5 million from PNC Bank.

Trone is a relatively new member of Congress — he assumed office in 2019.

17. Rep. Jay Obernolte, a Republican from California: $39,250,014

Jay Obernolte
Rep. Jay Obernolte.

The bulk of Obernolte’s fortune stems from his ownership of FarSight Studios, a video-game company in Big Bear Lake, California, that he launched in 1988. Obernolte, who joined Congress in 2019, also reported several investments worth millions in Vanguard tax-managed mutual funds.

Obernolte did not report any liabilities or debts.

16. Rep. Scott Peters, a Democrat from California: $39,738,062

Rep. Scott Peters
Rep. Scott Peters.

Peters’ wealth is mostly in government securities, though he and his spouse have also invested in several mutual funds. The congressman’s wife, Lynn Gorguze, is the president and CEO of a private equity firm, Cameron Holdings. 

Peters reported two liabilities worth at least $30,000 in total, for “revolving credit.”

15. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California: $46,123,051

House speaker nancy pelosi
Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi, the speaker of the House, reported personal wealth spread out among property holdings, mutual funds, and stocks owned by her husband. The only assets that Pelosi reported owning or joint-owning were her home in Napa, California, and a Wells Fargo bank account containing less than $15,000.

Pelosi’s husband had holdings in corporations such as Slack, Tesla, Disney, Visa, Salesforce, PayPal, Alphabet, Facebook, and Netflix — companies that together spend tens of millions of dollars each year lobbying the federal government.

Pelosi reported at least $20 million in liabilities that mostly involved mortgages on properties in California and Washington, DC.

14. Rep. Frank Mrvan, a Democrat from Indiana: $49,848,004

Frank Mrvan
Rep. Frank Mrvan.

Before going to Washington, DC, Mrvan worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative and a mortgage broker.

Much of Mrvan’s wealth — estimated at about $50 million at minimum — is contained in an Indiana public employees’ retirement fund. Mrvan’s next-largest asset was his wife’s 401(k), valued at $100,000 to $250,000.

Mrvan, a newcomer to Congress, reported three liabilities in his financial filings worth at least $270,000 in total: his home mortgage, an auto loan, and credit-card debt.

13. Rep. Suzan DelBene, a Democrat from Washington: $52,156,097

Rep. Suzan DelBene, a Democrat from Washington, speaks in front of the US Capitol.
Rep. Suzan DelBene.

Before joining Congress, DelBene was an executive at Microsoft. DelBene and her husband reported at least $1.1 million worth of shares in her former company.

DelBene’s wealth is spread out among mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and real-estate funds.

In late 2021, DelBene appeared to violate the STOCK Act by improperly disclosing her husband’s massive sale of Microsoft stock days before President Joe Biden nominated him for an administration post. DelBene’s office denied that the congresswoman violated the law, citing an email from the Committee on House Ethics.

12. Rep. Peter Meijer, a Republican from Michigan: $60,514,285

Peter Meijer
Rep. Peter Meijer.

A part of the family behind the eponymous Midwestern grocery chain, Meijer reported that the bulk of his wealth was held in a “generation-skipping trust” that contained, among other assets, stock in Johnson & Johnson, Home Depot, Tesla, and Visa.

Meijer reported at least $1.95 million in liabilities in the forms of a mortgage, lines of credit, and promissory notes. He joined Congress in 2021.

11. Rep. Roger Williams, a Republican from Texas: $67,438,045

roger williams
Rep. Roger Williams.

Williams’ wealth is primarily split among mutual funds, a few select stocks, real property, and the ownership of several car dealerships in Texas worth more than $5 million. Williams also reported a stake in two aircraft-leasing companies.

The congressman reported $4 million in liabilities in the forms of lines of credit, mortgages, notes payable, and a loan. Williams recently violated the STOCK Act by failing to properly file three stock transactions by his wife. 

10. Rep. Doris Matsui, a Democrat from California: $73,872,062

Doris Matsui
Rep. Doris Matsui.

Matsui’s husband, Roger Sant, is the founder of the AES Corporation, a Fortune 500 holding company specializing in electricity generation and distribution.

Matsui’s listed holdings were spread out among exchange-traded funds, money-market funds, limited liability companies, and trusts. She reported at least $165,000 in liabilities in the form of credit-card debt through various banks.

9. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, a Republican from Indiana: $74,629,062

Trey Hollingsworth
Rep. Trey Hollingsworth.

Hollingsworth’s wealth primarily comes from his involvement with Hollingsworth Capital Partners, a Tennessee group that builds and markets industrial facilities in 17 states, according to his financial disclosure.

 

8. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut: $85,231,232

Sen. Richard Blumenthal
Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Blumenthal’s fortune is held almost entirely by his wife, Cynthia Malkin, with millions of dollars reported in various hedge funds, stocks, and real estate and property partnerships. Malkin’s father, Peter L. Malkin, is the chairman emeritus of Empire State Realty Trust — a commercial office and retail leasing agency for units across Manhattan including the Empire State Building —  and the chairman of Malkin Holdings.

Blumenthal’s only liability listed in his financial filings was a 30-year mortgage on his home that his wife took out in 2011.

7. Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah: $85,269,083

Mitt Romney
Sen. Mitt Romney.

The bulk of Romney’s wealth derives from his success at Bain Capital, a private-equity investment firm where he rose to CEO. And much of Romney’s fortune is in Goldman Sachs mutual funds.

Romney’s wife, Ann, also boasts an extensive portfolio that includes millions invested in private-equity and hedge funds.

Romney reported at least $4.5 million in liabilities from his wife; each liability was listed as a “capital commitment.”

6. Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia: $93,534,098

Mark Warner
Sen. Mark Warner.

Before venturing into politics, the 3-term senator and former Virginia governor ran a venture-capital firm, Columbia Capital, and a telecom company, Capital Cellular Corporation. Warner’s wealth is divvied up among mutual funds, private-equity funds, and hedge funds.

 

5. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California: $96,518,036

Dianne Feinstein
Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

The majority of Feinstein’s wealth is from her husband, Richard Blum, according to her financial filings. Blum is an investor and the president and chairman of Blum Capital, a private equity company. Feinstein herself reported over $1 million in a deposit account, while a considerable portion of her wealth — at least $25 million — was held in a blind trust.

Feinstein listed three liabilities, each of which belonged to her husband, for a combined amount of at least $3 million.

Feinstein was one of 48 members of Congress who Insider and other media organizations found in 2021 to have violated the STOCK Act.

4. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican from Florida: $113,384,088

UNITED STATES - JUNE 18: Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., arrives for the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Vern Buchanan.

Buchanan’s wealth primarily comes from his ownership of several car dealerships, in addition to a limited liability company that was labeled as “Aircraft Holding & Leasing” and valued at $25 million to $50 million. Buchanan also founded a printing company, American Speedy Printing, in the late 1970s.

Buchanan listed several liabilities in his financial filings worth at least $14 million, including loans for a plane and a yacht connected with the LLC.

Buchanan may have the authority to write American tax policy in coming years, as the congressman is likely to become the leading GOP member of the Ways and Means Committee after Rep. Devin Nunes announced his resignation to become the CEO of a new social media company founded by former President Donald Trump.

3. Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican from California: $115,850,012

Darrell Issa
Rep. Darrell Issa.

Much of Issa’s fortune comes from a car-alarm system called Steal Stopper and his time as the CEO of Directed Electronics. His financial filings indicated that each of Issa’s assets is jointly owned. Issa did not report owning any individual stocks — his wealth is largely held in diversified stock funds and his ownership of properties in California and Ohio.

Issa listed one liability: a margin account holding him liable for over $50 million.

The congressman served for 18 years in Congress before briefly leaving and becoming President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the US Trade and Development Agency. He rejoined Congress in 2021.

2. Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas: $125,880,292

Rep. Michael McCaul
Rep. Michael McCaul.

McCaul is thought to be the second-richest person in Congress, though none of the assets or holdings reported in his 65-page financial disclosure were his alone, belonging to his wife or dependent children. The bulk of his fortune is from his wife, Linda, the daughter of the founder of the media giant iHeartRadio.

The McCaul family notably reported millions in limited liability companies and iShares funds, and at least $250,000 worth of Netflix stock.

McCaul did not list any liabilities or debts in his financial disclosure.

1. Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican from Florida: $200,327,223

DJT and Rick Scott
Sen. Rick Scott.

Scott, who assumed office in 2019, cemented his No. 1 spot on the list through his extensive holdings in stocks, bonds, LLCs, private-equity funds, gold trusts, and treasury notes. Scott holds relatively few individual stocks.

The senator is the cofounder of two healthcare companies: Columbia Hospital Corporation (now HCA Healthcare) and Solantic. He also worked as a venture capitalist, investing in several technology and healthcare companies.

Scott did not list any liabilities or debts in his filings.

The five least-wealthy members of Congress

August Pfluger
Rep. August Pfluger.

A few members of Congress’ minimum sum of liabilities far surpassed the minimum sum of their disclosed assets.

These five members’ negative estimated wealth stemmed from high-priced mortgages:

  • Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, a Democrat from California: -$1,008,000
  • Rep. Steven Horsford, a Democrat from Nevada: -$1,047,992
  • Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a Republican from Wyoming: -$1,401,991
  • Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat from Illinois: -$1,877,936
  • Rep. August Pfluger, a Republican from Texas: -$2,000,002
Methodology

Computer graphics of dollar banknotes stream flying around United States Capitol. Colorful twilight sky with clouds in backgrounds

Members of Congress are required to disclose the value of their assets only in broad ranges, such as $15,000 to $50,000. Insider’s calculations are conservative estimates based on the minimum values disclosed by members. Each member of Congress’ wealth was calculated by subtracting the sum of their minimum reported liabilities from the sum of their minimum asset values.

Lawmakers are not required to disclose certain classes of personal assets, such as the value of their personal residence, so these assets are not included in Insider’s calculations.

Insider’s analysis does not include four members of Congress whose disclosures were uniquely complicated and lengthy, comprising hundreds of pages of handwritten or scanned documents: Reps. Ro Khanna of California, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, and Harold Rogers of Kentucky.

Read the original article on Business Insider

These are the 50 top stocks that members of Congress own

Reps. Josh Gottheimer, Sara Jacobs, Van Taylor, and Susie Lee in front of Exxon Mobil, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft lgoos.
  • More than 220 members of Congress held individual stocks in 2020.
  • We analyzed hundreds of congressional financial disclosures to find the most popular investments.
  • Apple was the most popular, with Microsoft, Disney, Alphabet, and Amazon close behind.

More than 40% of members in Congress, or more than 220 representatives and senators, own individual stocks, collectively holding at least $225 million in stock assets, Insider has found.

Those in Congress are prohibited from using insider information to profit from the stock market. But it is legal for them to buy and sell individual stocks — a policy that can result in potential conflicts of interest in legislators’ financial dealings.

Tech stocks were the most popular

Those in Congress favor tech stocks, Insider’s analysis showed. Apple, the top stock and one of the hottest investments in recent years, was held by 72 members, or more than 13% of Congress.

Microsoft, the second-most-popular stock, was held by 64 members, followed by Disney and Alphabet, tied with 45 owners. Close behind was Amazon, owned by 44 members.

Together, the five companies spent $48 million on lobbying in 2020, according to OpenSecrets. PACs linked to the five companies along with the companies’ employees made an estimated $89.9 million in federal political contributions during the 2020 election cycle, which includes the calendar year 2019.

 

Leading investments include big lobbying forces, from pharma to oil to defense

Pharmaceutical and biotechnology giants are also popular investments for elected officials.

Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, the makers of COVID-19 vaccines, were the most-held pharmaceutical stocks in Congress in 2020, owned by 44 and 37 members, respectively.

Congress’ stock trades in particular are worthy of scrutiny. Despite a law requiring members to quickly and publicly disclose when they buy and sell stocks and corporate bonds, Insider found that many have failed to comply, often disclosing trades late, if at all.

Lawmakers’ personal financial interests sometimes intersect with their public duties.

Reps. Robert Wittman, a Republican from Virginia, and Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, owned Exxon Mobil stock. Both lawmakers sit on the House Committee on Natural Resources, which is responsible for overseeing various elements of the fossil-fuels industry. Overall, 36 members of Congress owned Exxon Mobil stock in 2020, making it the 12th-most-owned stock in Congress.

Insider also discovered that some members of Congress held stocks that their committees have direct influence over, such as 15 members sitting on the House and Senate Armed Services committees who are simultaneously invested in defense contractors.

Shares of Alibaba, a multinational Chinese tech firm with ties to the country’s ruling Communist Party, were owned by 20 members of Congress, including Republican Sens. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama and Roger Marshall of Kansas, two outspoken critics of China’s government. Both senators this year violated the federal Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 by not properly disclosing some of their stock trades.

 

How we analyzed Congress’ financial disclosures 

Insider this autumn collected and analyzed financial disclosures filed by each member of Congress, making them searchable and sortable whereas they previously were not. Covering 2020 — a year in which the world’s richest people witnessed their fortunes grow substantially — the reports provide the most recent comprehensive overview of each member’s financial assets.

They revealed at least $2.6 billion in wealth held by federal legislators.

Senate and House members file their disclosures in different formats. Insider used natural-language-processing software — including an algorithm that analyzes text — to help determine the most commonly traded stocks in the House.

Insider’s analysis did not include four members of Congress whose disclosures were uniquely complicated, incomplete, illegible, or long, comprising hundreds of pages of handwritten or scanned documents. Those members are Democratic Reps. Ro Khanna of California, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, and Kurt Schrader of Oregon, and Republican Rep. Harold Rogers of Kentucky. A cursory review of their filings showed that Khanna, Schrader, and Rogers held extensive stock portfolios, and that they or immediate family members frequently traded individual stocks in 2020.

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‘Conflicted Congress’: Key findings from Insider’s five-month investigation into federal lawmakers’ personal finances

Pat Fallon, Dianne Feinstein, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, Jon Ossoff, and Liz Cheney over an image of the capital
From Left: Rep. Pat Fallon, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Jon Ossoff, Rep. Liz Cheney

  • Dozens of federal lawmakers and at least 182 top staffers have violated a conflict-of-interest law.
  • Numerous members of Congress personally invest in industries they oversee.
  • Few face serious consequences, legally or otherwise.

The nation is unabashedly polarized. Republicans and Democrats enjoy little goodwill and less commonality.

But in Washington, DC, a bipartisan phenomenon is thriving. Numerous members of Congress, both liberal and conservative, are united in their demonstrated indifference toward a law designed to quash corruption and curb conflicts-of-interest.

Insider’s new investigative reporting project, “Conflicted Congress,” chronicles the myriad ways members of the US House and Senate have eviscerated their own ethical standards, avoided consequences, and blinded Americans to the many moments when lawmakers’ personal finances clash with their public duties.  

In all, Insider spent hundreds of hours over five months reviewing nearly 9,000 financial-disclosure reports for every sitting lawmaker and their top-ranking staffers. Reporters conducted hundreds of interviews, including those with some of the nation’s most powerful leaders.  

Today, Insider published the first of more than two-dozen articles and data visualizations that will reveal the:

Insider’s “Conflicted Congress” is also rating every member of Congress on their financial conflicts and commitment to financial transparency. Fourteen senators and House members have received a red “danger” rating on our three-tier stoplight scale, while 112 get a yellow “borderline” rating.

Throughout this week, “Conflicted Congress” will publish investigations into Congress’ tobacco ties, cryptocurrency plays, real estate investments, transparency avoidance, lax law enforcement, and crushing student loan debt. 

Other articles will reveal the 25 wealthiest members of Congress and where they put their money and the 50 most popular stock holdings among members of Congress.

Finally, Insider on Friday will publish an exclusive, searchable, and sortable database of all members of Congress’ personal finances, including their assets, debts, and sources of outside income. (Data geeks get ready!)  

Have a tip for Insider’s “Conflicted Congress” reporting team? Confidentially email us at insider-dc@insider.com.

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Felicia Moore and Andre Dickens advance to a runoff in the Atlanta mayoral election

Atlanta mayoral candidate Felicia Moore speaking at an Atlanta Press Club candidate forum
Atlanta mayoral candidate Felicia Moore speaking at an Atlanta Press Club candidate forum

  • Felicia Moore and Andre Dickens will advance to a runoff in the Atlanta mayoral election.
  • Moore is the city council president and Dickens is also a council member.
  • Former Mayor Kasim Reed was locked out of the runoff and conceded the race on Thursday.

What’s at stake:

Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore and Councilmember Andre Dickens will advance to the November 30 runoff to replace outgoing Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

The top contenders to succeed Bottoms also included former two-term Mayor Kasim Reed, councilmember Antonio Brown, and attorney Sharon Gay, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Reed found himself locked out of the runoff and conceded the race on Thursday.

Bottoms, who was elected in 2017 and quickly distinguished herself as a power player in Georgia and national politics, surprised many observers when she announced in May that she wouldn’t seek another term.

In declining to run for a second term, Bottoms joined a national trend of mayors, burnt out from shepherding their cities through the COVID-19 pandemic and tumultuous civil unrest in 2020, heading for the exits.

Citing people close to Bottoms, the Journal-Constitution reported that the mayor declined to run for another term “because she felt her motivation sapping.”

The most recent poll of the race, conducted by the University of Georgia and commissioned by the Journal-Constitution, found Moore narrowly leading with 24% of the vote compared to Reed’s 20%, but 41% of voters are still undecided. The survey, conducted from October 6-20, had a margin of error of ±3.5 points.

Moore, who served as a city council member for 20 years before becoming its president in 2018, focused on public safety during her campaign, pointing to her work with the city’s municipal employee pension reform, which she said saved thousands of positions.

Last month, she released a comprehensive anti-crime plan that emphasized community policing and aimed to provide incentives to hire new police officers.

Reed, in making his case for another term as mayor, also focused heavily on crime reduction.

In 2020, there were 157 homicides in Atlanta, a sharp increase from the 99 killings recorded in 2019. As of October 25, the city has recorded 132 homicides this year, according to the Journal-Constitution.

Atlanta, long the economic powerhouse of the South, has for decades attracted new residents from across the country, and Reed, who served in office from 2010 to 2018, had been frustrated by what he saw as a backslide in the city’s fortunes.

“The level of crime and violence is just at unacceptable levels and it’s fracturing our city in a way that I haven’t seen in my lifetime,” he said during a April radio interview before he jumped into the race in June.

Reed had pledged to add 750 new officers to the Atlanta Police Department and to work with state and local leaders to hire additional judges to reduce the prosecutorial backlog fueled by the coronavirus pandemic.

A movement by the affluent Buckhead neighborhood to form its own city also rattled Reed and business leaders who argued that public safety concerns are threatening Atlanta’s financial health.

In August, the real estate and economic development consultant KB Advisory Group issued a report, which found that Atlanta would lose $80 million to $116 million annually if Buckhead residents vote next year to create their own city.

But Reed’s potential City Hall comeback generated its share of controversy, with his opponents pointing to the federal corruption investigation that ensnared several aides who served in his administration. However, Reed has not been charged with a crime and his personal attorneys told the Journal-Constitution in October that he is not under federal investigation.

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Gov. Phil Murphy narrowly defeats Republican Jack Ciattarelli to win reelection as governor of New Jersey

Incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J. speaks during a gubernatorial debate with Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli at Rowan University's Pfleeger Concert Hall Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, in Glassboro, N.
Incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J. speaks during a gubernatorial debate with Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli at Rowan University’s Pfleeger Concert Hall Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, in Glassboro, N.

  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy won a 2nd term against Republican Jack Ciattarelli.
  • Ciattarelli, a businessman and former GOP lawmaker, ran a surprisingly close race.
  • The incumbent governor leads his opponent by less than a point as of Wednesday night.

What’s at stake:

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy narrowly won a second term in office against Republican Jack Ciatterelli.

New Jersey is the second state, along with Virginia, holding a gubernatorial election in 2021, making Murphy and Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe the most powerful Democrats to face statewide contests since President Joe Biden took office in January.

Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive, was elected in 2017 to succeed former Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who had served two terms in the governor’s office. And while New Jersey is now solidly Democratic on the presidential level, that trend hasn’t extended to state-level offices. If reelected, Murphy would be the first Democratic governor to win a second term in New Jersey since 1977.

Like McAuliffe in Virginia, Murphy is seeking to paint his Republican opponent as an extension of former President Donald Trump, who lost New Jersey by 16 points in the 2020 presidential election and is highly unpopular in the state.

“Do we stand with our sacred democracy, or do we stand with Confederate flags and white supremacists in a pack of lies?” Murphy said at a debate with Ciattarelli earlier this month. He was referring to Ciattarelli’s attendance at a “Stop the Steal” rally in late November of last year, after Trump lost the election to Biden.

Former President Barack Obama, who campaigned for Murphy in Newark, New Jersey over the weekend of October 23, also took aim at Ciattarelli for attending the rally.

“Apparently Phil’s opponent says he didn’t know it was a rally to overturn the results of the last election,” Obama said, “He didn’t know it? Come on. When you’re standing in front of a sign that says ‘Stop the Steal’ and there’s a guy in the crowd waving a Confederate flag, you know this isn’t a neighborhood barbecue. You know it’s not a league of women voters rally. Come on. Come on, man. That’s not what New Jersey needs.”

Ciattarelli, meanwhile, has sought to cast himself as more moderate by voicing his support for Roe v. Wade and for undocumented immigrants obtaining driver’s licenses.

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, Ciattarelli said that “we will codify it here in New Jersey.”

“I support a woman’s right to choose,” he added, though he said he opposes the Reproductive Freedom Act pending in the state legislature and said he believes it’s too extreme.

And while he’s criticized Murphy’s position on COVID-19 vaccine mandates, Ciattarelli also underscored that he’s not in the same camp as more hardline Republicans.

“I’m not where Phil Murphy is” on COVID-19 measures, “but I’m certainly not where Ron DeSantis is,” Ciattarelli said in a recent interview with the USA Today Network New Jersey Editorial Board.

While Murphy is still favored to win reelection, the race has significantly tightened in recent months. Murphy led Ciattrelli by 26 points among registered voters in a May survey from Rutgers University but only led Ciattrelli by six points among likely voters in a recent Emerson College/PIX 11 poll conducted in mid-October and by 11 points among likely voters in a late October Monmouth University poll.

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RESULTS: Democrats come within striking distance of losing their majority in Virginia House of Delegates

President Joe Biden and VA gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe join hands with Hala Ayala, a member of the VA House of Delegates, the state's attorney general, and McAuliffe's wife in July 2021.
President Joe Biden and VA gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe campaign with Hala Ayala, a member of the VA House of Delegates, in July 2021.

  • Virginia Democrats are fighting to maintain their control of the House of Delegates.
  • Democrats are just five seats away from losing their 55-45 majority in the chamber.
  • Polls in Virginia closed at 7 pm ET. Follow along for live results.

What’s at stake:

The gubernatorial race between Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin has garnered the most attention out of the 2021 elections in Virginia. But the battle for control of the state legislature is also a key test of Democratic strength in the Old Dominion State and has broad implications for whoever is elected governor.

Decision Desk HQ projects that Democrats will hold 47 of the chamber’s 100 seats while Republicans have won 49, putting them in striking distance of taking back the majority. Control of the chamber is still too close to call, with four races yet to be decided, including the competitive Democratic-held 28th, 85th, and 91st districts.

Virginia, once a thoroughly conservative southern state, turned blue at the presidential level in 2008 and has since only backed Democratic presidential nominees. Much of the leftward movement in the state is concentrated in the state’s growing and diversifying suburbs, particularly in Northern Virginia. The blue shift took longer to materialize down-ballot, and traditionally, the party in the White House has faced a tougher environment in Virginia’s off-year elections.

In 2019, following a national anti-Trump blue wave in the midterms, Democrats won control of both of Virginia’s state legislative chambers for the first time in two decades. They came close in 2017, but a tied race decided by a random drawing went to the Republican candidate and gave the GOP a 51-seat majority in the chamber.

Democrats held 55 seats in the chamber compared to Republicans’ 45 going into the election, putting them just five seats away from losing their majority.

As of Wednesday morning, Republicans flipped control of the Blacksburg-based 12th District, held by Del. Chris Hurst, the 63rd District, held by Del. Lashrecse Aird, the 75th District, held by Del. Roslyn Tyler, and the 83rd District, represented by Del. Nancy Guy.

Democrats did narrowly retain control of the 10th District in Loudoun County, represented by Del. Wendy Gooditits, and the 73rd District, held by Del. Rodney Willett in the Richmond suburbs.

Since Democrats took control of Virginia’s House of Delegates nearly two years ago, the majority has passed a slew of progressive policies, including raising the minimum wage, abolishing the death penalty, legalizing marijuana, and mandating background checks for gun purchases.

Democrats had also gotten rid of some abortion restrictions, passed criminal justice reforms – including abolishing no-knock warrants and implementing minimum standards for police training, and created a goal of transitioning the state’s electric utilities to 100% green energy by 2050.

Republicans in Virginia focused their messaging on culture war issues, including fighting COVID-19 vaccine mandates and accusing Democrats of undermining the will of parents, and hoped to tie state lawmakers to President Joe Biden, whose approval rating has dipped to new lows in recent months amid rising inflation, slow-moving legislative negotiations in Washington, and the US’s messy withdrawal from Afghanistan.

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Republican Glenn Youngkin defeats Democrat Terry McAuliffe in high-stakes Virginia governor’s election

Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe on a red and blue background with the words “Virginia Governor.”
Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe.

  • The Republican Glenn Youngkin beat the Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s gubernatorial race.
  • McAuliffe served as governor for one term, and Youngkin is a businessman and first-time candidate.
  • The high-stakes election is a huge win for the GOP and a dire warning for Democrats.

What’s at stake:

Glenn Youngkin defeated the Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s gubernatorial election. Tuesday’s race was the biggest test of President Joe Biden and his party’s strength since Democrats won back the White House in November 2020 and the Senate in January.

McAuliffe, a longtime fixture of Democratic politics, got his start raking in eye-popping sums as a fundraiser for President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s. After stints as chair of the Democratic National Committee and cochair of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, McAuliffe served one term as Virginia’s governor from 2014 to 2018.

McAuliffe conceded the race to Youngkin on Wednesday morning, saying in a statement: “While last night we came up short, I am proud that we spent this campaign fighting for the values we so deeply believe in.”

Youngkin, a wealthy former private-equity executive and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, is a political newcomer and funded much of his own campaign.

The Virginia native was chosen as the GOP nominee by a select number of party members in a May 8 ranked-choice party convention, instead of competing in a primary election. So, unlike McAuliffe, he’d never faced voters before. On the campaign trail, Youngkin depicted himself as an economic conservative and largely avoided discussing former President Donald Trump, who lost Virginia by double digits in 2020.

Governors can serve only one term at a time under Virginia’s constitution, prompting McAuliffe to seek his second term and replace his Democratic successor, Gov. Ralph Northam. State politics are increasingly nationalized across the country, and particularly in Virginia, which neighbors the US capital.

McAuliffe, for his part, had acknowledged the fate of his campaign was closely tied to Washington Democrats. He recently urged Democrats to do “whatever it takes” to pass their domestic policy agenda, including the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and bemoaned Biden’s sinking approval rating.

With Youngkin having no real political record, McAuliffe tried aggressively to tie him to Trump. McAuliffe labeled Youngkin as a “Trump wannabe,” and Democrats argued that the political neophyte’s policy positions were virtually indistinguishable from Trump’s.

While Youngkin welcomed the former president’s endorsement, he conceded in recent months that Biden was elected fairly and “there wasn’t material fraud” in the 2020 election. Before securing the nomination, though, Youngkin refused to say whether Biden won the election.

Youngkin also campaigned on “election integrity,” a platform signaling his embrace of the GOP’s voter-fraud conspiracy theories without explicitly endorsing Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election.

On Tuesday night, Trump released a statement congratulating Youngkin and crediting his supporters for Youngkin’s victory. “I would like to thank my BASE for coming out in force and voting for Glenn Youngkin. Without you, he would not have been close to winning. The MAGA movement is bigger and stronger than ever before,” the statement said in part.

Trump’s spokeswoman Liz Harrington had shared a separate statement on Twitter on Monday saying that Trump and Youngkin “get along very well together” and “strongly believe in many of the same policies.”

“The Fake News media, together with some of the perverts doing ads ad nauseam on primarily Fox (Fox shouldn’t take those ads!), are trying to create an impression that Glenn Youngkin and I are at odds and don’t like each other,” the statement said.

In his efforts to appeal to key suburban voters, Youngkin cast himself as an advocate for parents who oppose vaccine mandates and racial-justice efforts in public schools. In a late-October campaign ad, Youngkin promoted a Fairfax County parent who fought to remove Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1987 novel, “Beloved,” from her son’s high-school curriculum. As governor, McAuliffe vetoed a bill mandating that schools notify parents about sexually explicit content their kids are being assigned and allow children to opt out of the schoolwork.

When McAuliffe defended schools and said “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach” at a recent debate, Youngkin accused him of denying parents any say in their kids’ education.

The latest polls of the race indicated education and the economy were supplanting COVID-19 as the most important issues to Virginia voters, giving Youngkin a boost in the final days of his campaign.

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Michelle Wu defeats Annissa Essaibi George in Boston mayoral election

Boston city Councilors Annissa Essaibi George, and Michelle Wu appearing at a protest
Boston Mayoral Candidates, At-Large city Councilors, from left, Annissa Essaibi George, and Michelle Wu.

  • Michelle Wu defeated Annissa Essaibi George in the race to be Boston’s next mayor.
  • The candidates are Democratic members of the Boston City Council with differing visions for the city.
  • Wu is Boston’s first elected female and non-white mayor.

What’s at stake:

Michelle Wu defeated Annissa Essaibi George in the general election for mayor of Boston.

Essaibi George conceded the race to Wu on Tuesday night, saying, “I want to offer a great big congratulations to Michelle Wu.”

Wu is Boston’s first elected female and non-white mayor. The city has historically been fraught by racial tensions, and its politics have long been dominated by white men both within and outside of City Hall.

Essaibi George and Wu, both at-large members of the Boston City Council, defeated several high-profile opponents, including the acting mayor and City Council president Kim Janey and Councilwoman Andrea Campbell, in the September preliminary election for the top two spots in the general election.

The two councilmembers ran to replace former Mayor Marty Walsh, who President Joe Biden tapped earlier this year to serve in his cabinet as Secretary of Labor.

The two candidates represent diverging visions of Boston, the state capital and economic powerhouse of New England.

Wu has proposed progressive policies such as eliminating fares on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MTBA), which runs the metropolitan area’s public transit system, and abolishing the Boston Planning and Development Agency in seeking to overhaul how economic development within the city is managed.

Essaibi George, a close friend and ally of Walsh, had criticized Wu’s bold policy plans, describing her rival’s calls to end public transit fares as impractical. She also strongly emphasized her Dorchester roots and Boston upbringing.

“It’s relevant to me, and I think it’s relevant to a lot of voters whether or not they’re born and raised in the city,” the former public school teacher said during an interview with Boston’s WGBH Radio.

Essaibi George also highlighted her public safety record, touting her plans to hire additional police officers and embrace community policing.

In the lead-up to Tuesday, Wu appeared strongly favored to win the general election over Essaibi George, with a recent poll from Suffolk University showing her leading her opponent by 32 percentage points, 62% to 30%. The survey included 500 likely voters and had a 4.4 percent margin error.

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