At least 34 members of Congress, including current House Speaker John Boehner, recast their financial portfolios after meetings with former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, his successor Timothy Geithner or Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, the Washington Post reports.
The meetings and portfolio rearrangements took place in January 2008, when then-President George W. Bush was negotiating with Capitol Hill over a $150 billion stimulus package to stave off an emerging financial crisis.
From the Post's report:
The lawmakers, many of whom held leadership positions and committee chairmanships in the House and Senate, changed portions of their portfolios a total of 166 times within two business days of speaking or meeting with the administration officials. The party affiliation of the lawmakers was about evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, 19 to 15.
The period covered by The Post analysis was a grim one for the U.S. economy, and many people rushed to reconfigure their investment portfolios. The financial moves by the members of Congress are permitted under congressional ethics rules, but some ethics experts said they should refrain from taking actions in their financial portfolios when they might know more than the public.