Meanwhile, rank and file employees at the Food and Drug Administration, an agency that is overseen by the Energy and Commerce Committee, are held to a higher standard. They are barred from investing in health care sector funds, medical device sector funds and companies such as pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, just to name a few.
“FDA employees as well as their spouse and minor children are prohibited from holding financial interests, like stock, in certain businesses regulated by FDA,” the agency’s website notes. “This includes many companies working in the drug, biologic, medical device, food, and tobacco industries, among others.”
In the Senate, Chairman Roger Wicker leads the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation where his panel has oversight of online markets, including business done by tech companies such as Amazon. The Mississippi Republican owns between $15,000 and $50,000 in Amazon stock and his spouse owns between $15,000 and $50,000 in Walmart securities, another company under the jurisdiction of Wicker’s panel.
Rick VanMeter, a spokesperson for Wicker, had no comment.
That’s not to say there haven’t been changes in this area over the past decade. In 2012, the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK) was passed by a Republican-led House and Democratic-led Senate and signed into law by President Barack Obama.