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Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection Chairman Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) voted for legislation that gave Intel billions in subsidies shortly after his family purchased over $250,000 worth of the company’s stock.
An investment fund operated by his wife in January purchased between $1 million and $2 million in tech companies, including Intel, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google’s parent company Alphabet, according to a congressional disclosure. The STOCK Act requires members of Congress and their spouses to disclose transactions valued at $1,000 or higher within 30-45 days.
Congress passed the STOCK Act in 2012 after Breitbart News senior contributor Peter Schweizer released Throw Them All Out, which exposed corruption among political officials.
Interestingly, roughly two months after Blumenthal’s family fund invested a quarter-million dollars into Intel, the company’s CEO, Patrick Gelsinger, testified on Capitol Hill and urged Congress to pass the America COMPETES Act, which would allocate over $50 billion for domestic semiconductor manufacturing.
Intel stood to benefit from this legislation, as the company is one of the world’s largest semiconductor producers and operates manufacturing facilities in the United States. Shortly after Gelsinger’s testimony, the Senate voted 68-28 to pass the America COMPETES Act, with Sen. Blumenthal voting in favor of the legislation.
The Senate’s approval came one month after the House approved the America COMPETES Act. The two chambers must work out the differences in each of their versions before the bill heads to President Joe Biden’s desk for approval, who has urged Congress to “pass the damn bill.”
With the Blumenthal family stock portfolio set to gain from the Intel subsidies, this has increased calls for Congress to ban its members from trading stocks.
“This is another example why there is strong public support for restricting stock purchases by senators and House members,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. “And, by the way, ‘disclosing’ conflicts doesn’t erase them.”
Blumenthal previously denied owning individual stocks, but congressional watchdogs say there is no difference between individually owned and family-operated stock portfolios.
“There is no distinction between him owning individual stocks and the family trust owning them, which is proven by the fact that he must disclose them,” Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust director Kendra Arnold said.
Congressional Republicans are opposed to the America COMPETES Act, with House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) calling it the “America Concedes Act.” Additionally, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that “without major concessions and changes from House Democrats, this legislation has no chance of becoming law.”