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45 Congress members traded Chinese stocks ahead of Xi Jinping’s visit

45 Congress members traded Chinese stocks ahead of Xi Jinping's visit

Chinese President Xi Jinping has touched down in the United States for his first visit in six years, to attend the annual summit of the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping in San Francisco.

This summit marks the first face-to-face encounter between Xi and US President Joe Biden in a year, following months of diplomatic efforts to ease tensions over trade, human rights, and the pandemic. 

Intriguingly, ahead of Xi’s visit, a dozen members of Congress have engaged in stock trading involving Chinese companies, with a startling number holding seats on House Armed Services Committees. 

Congress members trade millions of dollars in Chinese stocks

45 Congress members, many of whom sit on the Armed Services Committee, bought millions of dollars worth of Chinese stock and options ahead of Xi’s visit, Quiver Quantitative revealed on November 15.

The most active in trading was US Representative James Langevin, who recently traded up to $3.1 million in China-listed stocks and options. Langevin sits on the House Armed Services Committee.

Senator Tommy Tuberville traded up to $930,000, Quiver noted in its X post. Tuberville also holds a seat on the same committee. 

Further, Representatives Bradley Schneider and Elaine Luria each traded up to $500,000. The former sits on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, while Luria is the vice chair of the Armed Services Committee. 

Other members and representatives who made notable trades in Chinese companies’ shares include Brian Mast, Josh Gottheimer, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Blake Moore. Whitehouse is the only one who does not hold a seat on a directly relevant committee, Quiver Quantitative highlighted. 

The ‘Ban Stock Trading for Government Officials Act’

Congressional trading has become a subject of escalating controversy, as Congress members and Senators, often referred to as ‘lawmakers,’ often obtain access to inside information about specific companies. 

This advantageous position enables them to make timely trades and respond to market-moving information before it becomes public, raising ethical concerns. 

Responding to this issue, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Josh Hawley proposed a new law – ‘Ban Stock Trading for Government Officials Act’ – in late July that seeks to ban members of Congress and the federal executive branch, including the president, from trading stocks. 

The proposed legislation outlines penalties for rule violations, including additional civil penalties in cases of extraordinary or substantial monetary value, signaling a push for increased accountability.

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