CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Sen. Joe Manchin sold a hefty stake in one local bank company last year, joining a number of other senators who became more cautious with their investments following the passage of the STOCK Act.
The U.S. Senate released its latest batch of financial disclosure reports last week. This round of filings was significant as it was the first batch released after implementation of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act.
The 2012 law bans members of Congress and other government employees from using the non-public information they receive as part of their job for personal benefit.
The bill was a response to allegations that lawmakers used confidential financial information they received from banks during the financial crisis to sell their stocks before the market tanked.
The increased scrutiny has apparently led some to reconsider their investment strategies.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, a number of U.S. senators have moved away from owning shares of individual stocks, opting instead to creating blind trusts or putting money into mutual funds.
Manchin, D-W.Va., was one of four senators to create a blind trust last year, the paper reported.
The trust was created after Manchin sold a stake of $500,001 to $1 million in United Bancshares Inc. on July 16. Those funds were rolled over to create the blind trust, managed by Huntington National Bank, on Aug. 20.
(I say "$500,001 to $1 million" because congressional disclosure forms require candidates only to check the box for the particular range an asset is valued within - $1,000,001 to $5 million is another option - instead of listing the actual amount.)