House Republicans Curt Clawson of Florida and David Joyce of Ohio have invested in the stock of TransCanada Corp., which has been trying to gain U.S. government permission to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada. The lawmakers recently reported the investments in their financial disclosure forms for calendar year 2014.
Clawson, a retired auto parts executive, has a minimum net worth of $9.3 million and is the 40th richest member in Congress, according to Roll Call’s Wealth of Congress Index. Joyce, a former county prosecutor, is worth at least $1.68 million, which puts him at 148th on the list.
Republicans and some Democrats in Congress have backed the Keystone pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska because they say it would create jobs. The Obama administration has held off granting permission for the pipeline to cross the Canadian border, citing its environmental concerns. On Wednesday the State Department declined the Calgary-based TransCanada's request to suspend its review of the company's application to build the $8 billion pipeline until at least mid-2016, a few months before Obama leaves office.
TransCanada first applied in 2008 for U.S. permission to build a pipeline that would connect Alberta oil sands with Gulf Coast refineries.
Clawson bought stock in TransCanada a week after he won a June 25, 2014, special election for the Florida Gulf Coast House seat left vacant when Republican Trey Radel resigned earlier in the year. Clawson reported on his financial disclosure forms that he paid between $1,001 and $15,000 for the stock, which closed that day at $48.00 a share.
Clawson further reported that on Aug. 18, nearly seven weeks later, he sold more than 100 assets including the TransCanada stock. The stock closed that day at $51.68, and he received between $15,001 and $50,000. The transaction generated between $1,001 and $2,500 in capital gains income.
Since January 2014, the company stock has reached a high of $56.19 in September 2014 and bottomed out a year later at $30.82. It closed Wednesday at $34.27.
Clawson's press secretary, David James, said the lawmaker "has had very little to do with his day-to-day financial management, leaving it primarily to a private bank."
When Clawson joined the House, James said, "most of his assets were being moved into mutual funds." Clawson, he said, didn't vote on anything related to Keystone XL until September 2015.
"Curt believes that owning stock is good, and good for our economy," James said, "as long as it complies with the rules and ethics of the House of Representatives."
Clawson grew up in Indiana, captained the Purdue University’s basketball team and later received an MBA from Harvard Business School. He eventually went into the auto parts business, including a stint as CEO of Hayes Lemmerz International before retiring in 2012. He has reported at least $8.77 million in investments.
Joyce, who was first elected to the House in 2012, listed a $1,001-$15,000 stake in TransCanada for the first time in 2014. It produced between $1-$200 in combined dividends and capital gains income during the year. It is unclear when and for how much Joyce initially purchased the stock due to disclosure rules that don’t require assets worth less than $1,000 to be reported.
He also purchased an additional interest in the company on Feb. 23, when the stock closed at $43.87, a day before President Barack Obama vetoed legislation to approve the pipeline. The bill was cleared by the House on Feb. 11 after previously passing the Senate in January. The Senate failed to override the president’s veto in a vote on March 4.
Joyce was a county prosecutor for more than two decades. All of his assets are investments, which total at least $1.78 million. He joined the Appropriations Committee in his first term and sits on the Interior-Environment panel.
Joyce's office did not respond to several requests for comment on his investments.
House rules on voting say, “Every member . . . shall vote on each question put, unless having a direct personal or pecuniary interest in the event of such question.”