Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Senators Held Stock in Bailed-Out Banks

Senators held stock in bailed-out banks

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Senators who oversee the $700 billion Wall Street rescue package held stocks in many of the banks bailed out towards the end of last year, according to financial disclosure reports released Friday.

According to the reports detailing senators’ finances in 2008, nearly half of the members of the Senate Banking Committee had holdings in financial institutions that have taken funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The panel has jurisdiction over the bailout fund and other relief efforts directed by federal regulators to save the nation’s financial system.

For example, Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), a Banking panel member, has assets in several banks that have taken bailout funds. Along with Goldman Sachs, the senator has several assets in Bank of America funds, worth at least $115,00. Bank of America has received $45 billion in government funds.

Another Democrat invested in bailed-out institutions is Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.). Schumer has assets valued between $15,001 and $50,000 in Morgan Stanley and $1,001 to $15,000 in Citibank, according to his financial disclosure report. Morgan Stanley received $10 billion in TARP money while Citigroup was given $25 billion from the program. Schumer's assets in the two banks were savings accounts, however, not stock.

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), another Banking Committee member, also invested in some of the banks that received federal money. In a separate trust that the senator does not oversee, Kohl had assets valued between $15,001 and $50,000 and another valued from $1,001 to $15,001 in JP MorganChase funds, which received $25 billion in bailout money.

Few Republicans on the committee have significant holdings in companies that have received federal bailout money.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) holds stock valued at between $1,001 and $15,000 in Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and JP MorganChase. He sold stock in Citigroup in March, after the stock had experienced significant losses from highs a year before, and in Wells Fargo in April, when it was below, but near, recent highs.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) still owns small amounts of stock in Regions Bank, based in Alabama, and Zions Bancorporation, a Salt Lake City company. Both have received TARP money, according to a Treasury Department report.

Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) sold three-dozen investments he had in various mutual funds and individual retirement accounts run by Morgan Stanley, though he does not have money invested directly in firms that were bailed out.

The remainder of the Banking Committee Republicans did not report holdings in TARP recipient companies.

It is likely that Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) has significant holdings in many companies that have received government aid. According to his 2008 personal financial disclosure, Corker, a wealthy businessman with a wide-ranging portfolio, had interests in more than a dozen bailed-out companies.

Corker filed for an extension, as he did in 2008, and does not have to turn in his report until August 13. Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) also filed for an extension until August.

Like Corker and Bennett, three Democrats sitting on the panel asked for extensions in filing their financial disclosure reports. Freshmen Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) along with the committee’s chairman, Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), are expected to file their reports in August.

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