On December 6, 2016, Jason Miller, a spokesperson for President-elect Donald Trump, told the press that Trump had sold “all his stocks” last June. The Washington Post reports that campaign finance disclosure forms filed in May of this year showed that Trump’s holdings in publicly traded companies were worth about $40 million as of December 2015.
What’s The Big (Stock) Deal?
As we have reported previously, Trump has no qualms about making decisions as President that will benefit him financially. One might think that there is less need for concern about publicly traded stocks. But many of the companies in which Trump owned stock do a lot of business with the federal government.
They and others also are regulated by the federal government, and they actively participate whenever federal agencies make changes to their regulations. A potential conflict of interest arises because Trump is both the owner and the person who sets policy and chooses agency directors.
By selling his interests in these companies, Trump may have eliminated part of the conflict.
Then again, there is a lot we don’t know yet.
- Exactly what stocks were sold?
- How do we know that he actually sold all his stock?
- What price did he get for the stock?
- What did he do with the money? If he reinvested it, there may be new conflicts of interest.
Note that no documentation was released with any of the disclosures
Which Companies Were Involved?
Some of his holdings were in industries that he actively criticized during the campaign, and some of the companies whose stock he sold.
- Banking and Finance: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Visa
- Oil Industry: Halliburton,Occidental Petroleum, Phillips 66, ExxonMobil, and Energy Transfer Partners, developers of the Dakota Access Pipeline
- Pharmaceuticals: Gilead Sciences, Celgene, McKesson, Johnson & Johnson
- Big Tech: Apple, Microsoft
Trump team has not released documents to prove stock sales, nor given indication of how Trump spent windfall. https://t.co/ipyMqIikqu
— Rosalind Helderman (@PostRoz) December 6, 2016
Mandatory Disclosures By The President
Under the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, (Public Law 112-105), the President will have to disclose his holdings and any purchase or sale of stock worth $1,000 or more within 45 days. This law also prohibits both the executive and legislative branch employees from using the information available to them for their own profit.
It doesn’t apply to real estate, though, so it won’t solve all the conflict of interest problems Trump brings to office.
Watch the ever-spot-on Rachel Maddow bring some of Trump’s conflict of interests to light:
Featured Image: Screenshot Via Twitter