Republican Sen. Deb Fischer holds up to $100,000 in defense contractor Lockheed Martin stock while helping lead a Senate Armed Services subcommittee
Deb Fischerinherited up to $100,000 in Lockheed Martinstock from her mother in December 2021.
- Fischer is the top Republican on a subcommittee that oversees missile
The top Republican on a subcommittee that oversees missile defense has inherited up to $100,000 in stocks from leading defense contractor and missile manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
A financial disclosure made public on Thursday shows Republican Sen. Deb Fischer of
Fischer serves as counsel to
Since the start of Russia's war on Ukraine, US and NATO members have dispatched so-called "fire and forget" missiles to Ukraine. One of the missiles, called the Javelin missile, is co-manufactured by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. It's touted as "the world's premier shoulder-fired anti-armor system" capable of destroying battle tanks. Lockheed Martin makes a variety of other missile and missile defense systems, as well.
Lawmakers who own Lockheed Martin stock stand to personally profit from the war as the Senate tees up a vote for an additional $40 billion in Ukraine aid on Monday. The legislation already passed the House and then will head to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it given that it exceeds the $33 billion he'd requested.
On December 27, the day after Fischer inherited her Lockheed Martin stock, the stock closed at $350.28 per share. Since then, it's steadily trended upward, closing at $435.17 per share on Friday.
Fischer's office did not respond to questions about whether she plans to keep the Lockheed Martin shares or whether holding the stock presents a real or perceived conflict of interest. Past financial disclosures show that Fischer doesn't trade individual stocks, and most of her personal finances appear to be tied in Sunny Slope Ranch, a ranching company in Valentine, Nebraska, that she owns with her husband, Bruce.
Her biography on her official congressional page says Fischer "believes the first duty of Congress is to defend the nation." She also has urged her colleagues to look "at any and all options that are out there to assist Ukraine, in particular the more sophisticated anti-air systems, to counter that Russian bombing."
The 2012 federal Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or
No law prohibits lawmakers from sitting on congressional committees, writing legislation, or voting on bills that might affect them financially. But in recent months Congress has been debating whether to make the rules more strict — or to ban congressional stock trading altogether.
"Lawmakers who own individual stocks can create the perception that their official decisions are influenced by their personal interest instead of the public interest," said Kedric Payne, an ethics expert and vice president at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. "This potential conflict exists even with inherited stock. Congress can pass pending legislation to ban stock ownership and increase the public's confidence in the institution."
Fischer's inheritance also included several mutual funds as well as up to $15,000 in Coca-Cola shares and less than $1,001 in Cisco Systems. Members of Congress are required to report their trades only in broad ranges, making an exact investment amount difficult to pinpoint.
Insider previously reported that at least 15 lawmaker invest in the stock of defense contractors while holding powerful positions on a pair of House and Senate committees that control US military policy.
Defense contractors, for their part, spend millions of dollars lobbying the federal government to prod elected officials, shape policy, and win lucrative government contracts.
During 2021, Lockheed Martin spent more than $14.4 million on federal lobbying, according to federal records compiled by nonpartisan research organization OpenSecrets. It also spent more than $3.3 million on federal-level lobbying efforts during the first three months of 2022.
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