Saturday, April 12, 2008

Just one more reason for a never ending war

Congress Members Profit from the Iraq War

Gives new meaning to insider trading

Members of Congress have been earning millions since the start of the Iraq war through their investments in defense oriented companies, according to a nonpartisan research group report.

Based on a review of lawmakers' 2006 financial disclosure statements, congressional members with defense related committee or leadership assignments have collectively invested as much as $196 million in companies doing business with the Defense Department.

The study found over 34 percent of congressional members held investments worth $78.7 million to $195.5 million in companies that receive defense contracts worth at least $5 million, earning the members anywhere from $15.8 million to $62 million between 2004 and 2006.

Unfortunately, that members of congress are earning ethically questionable investment profits does not come as a surprise to OhMyGov! What is most disturbing is that it took a nonpartisan research group to determine this when policies and procedures are already in place to prevent such ethical lapses by political and government officials alike.

By law, to avoid conflicts of interest between official duties and private financial interests or affiliations, federal employees are required to fill out a Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Form 450) form or the Public Financial Disclosure Report (SF 278) to determine whether any potential conflicts exist.

The purpose, theoretically, is to assist employees and their agencies in avoiding conflicts between duties and private financial interests or affiliations. When such conflicts exist, employees must either liquidate stocks, recuse themselves from involvement in decision making, or leave/turn down a job.

Casting votes to send our men and women in uniform into harm's way is a heavy responsibility that we hope our elected officials always consider very carefully, but we wonder if they are really able to make a clear decision when their own personal financial bottom line is affected.

Original article posted here.

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