Our elected officials are entrusted to set aside their own interests for the good of the nation, but recent scandals suggest that personal profit may come first for some representatives. Despite mandated public disclosures of financial transactions since 2014, tens of thousands of stock trades by congressmen have received little scrutiny for abuse of insider knowledge and conflicts of interest. Our mission is to help put a stop to this by making stock trading data easily accessible to journalists, academic researchers, and the general public.
The bills that politicians introduce, the questions they ask in hearings, and the votes they make on pivotal pieces of legislation shape the rules of the economy and more generally how American society progresses. When senators own the stocks of individual companies, the decisions they make in congress start to affect their personal wealth in addition to the interests of constituents. Skewed interests combined with access to privileged information meant to help inform policy creates a skewed playing field where politicians face few checks from leveraging their offices for personal gain at the expense of optimal public policy.
We hope that increased transparency around the trades politicians are making and the conflicts of interest that can arise will put pressure on politicians to divest from individual stocks in exchange for mutual funds and ETFs. Politicians, staffers, and political appointees are required to disclose the tens of thousands of stock trades they make, but this information is often not made easily accessible by federal or state governments. We’re using our expertise in data collection, cleaning, and visualization to make this information something that anybody can search through and analyze.
If our mission aligns with your views, please consider supporting our Kickstarter campaign to help us to bring more stock trading data from more politicians into the public spotlight.
-Loften & Justin
Image and article originally from govtrades.org. Read the original article here.