Nov. 30, 2015 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Debt Debate Fuels Portfolio Worry

Of the more than 30 House and Senate leaders, chairmen or ranking members of money-minded committees or lawmakers who have declared that they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling, most did not respond to requests for comment submitted to their press offices.

While K Streeters say they understand that Members have to be careful about what they say publicly as it could spook the markets, they would still like to know in real time what financial moves lawmakers have taken amid the crisis.

"Investors would certainly benefit from knowing what economic bets lawmakers were making on the consequences of their official actions, much as they do from watching corporate insiders' trades," said Bruce Mehlman, a GOP lobbyist and founder of Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti.

And with good reason. Members of Congress tend to be savvy investors.

According to Roll Call's annual 50 Richest Members of Congress reports, lawmakers' financial portfolios have fared particularly well, even during the recent economic recession.

The details of their investments aren't easy to track, even after their personal financial disclosures are revealed. But they can still cause trouble for some Members, such as Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who disclosed that he had sold some mutual funds holdings in September 2008 after Bush administration officials warned lawmakers that the economy was in serious trouble.

If Members of Congress were "moving money around in concern about the volatility of the markets, it would be virtually impossible to detect that off the personal financial statement," said Ken Gross, an ethics lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. "You'd have to speculate."

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