Welch sells stock after questions raised

Published: Apr. 22, 2020 at 5:12 PM EDT
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Allegations of insider trading have people on both sides of the political aisle calling for changes in how lawmakers handle their personal finances.

In the halls of power on Capitol Hill, lawmakers frequently learn secret information sure to move the world's financial markets once that knowledge eventually goes public. Acting on insider info is illegal but trades aren't always scrutinized.

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch recently sold a stock he purchased in late February after questions emerged.

Welch's investment managers bought stock in a German company that is developing coronavirus testing.

After that came to light– following reports in VT Digger and elsewhere– Welch sold the stock in March.

He says he donated the $625 he made on the trades to COTS, a charity that helps the homeless.

And he says he has given new guidance to his financial managers in Brattleboro.

"I told my adviser, do not buy individual stocks, just for the potential questions that are raised, even when there is no inside information, nothing," said Welch, D-Vermont.

That's a position Welch says all lawmakers on Capitol Hill should take.

He says from now on he'll only be investing in mutual or exchange-traded funds, which spread investments across wide chunks of the market rather than in individual companies.

Welch also says he'll support reforms to make that restriction a legal requirement for members of Congress.

Based on their most recent disclosures, neither Sen. Patrick Leahy nor Sen. Bernie Sanders holds any stocks in individual companies.