House reps lose on bailed-out firms

Capitol Hill at sunrise

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: There are fewer assets to manage than there used to be. The Federal Reserve released its report on household net worth yesterday. When you add the value of all our homes, bank accounts and investments and then subtract our debt, Americans lost $1.3 trillion in the first quarter, making us now as wealthy as we were in 2004.

Today, we're going to find out how much money our elected representatives have lost when the U.S. House releases its latest financial disclosures. Marketplace's Dan Grech has that.


Dan Grech: Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi lost at least $100,000 last year when she sold her stock in bailed-out insurance giant AIG. Republican whip Eric Cantor and his wife had a half million dollars in Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and other companies getting federal help. Overall, at least 18 members of the House Financial Services Committee held stock in bailed-out firms.

Melanie Sloan directs the nonprofit watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics:

Melanie Sloan: The problem is, you wonder if when they're voting to bail those companies out, they're really worried more about their own financial interest than they are about the U.S. taxpayers.

Sloan says congressional rules about financial disclosure and conflict of interest need to be tightened.

That said, not everyone in Congress took a financial beating last year. Democrat Barney Frank, chair of the Financial Services Committee, broke even. That's because the liberal politician's portfolio was highly conservative: it consisted mostly of bonds.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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