Wall Street mega-bank JPMorgan Chase has been all over the headlines, thanks to its recent $3 billion in losses, much of which was racked up by the firm's infamous London trader known as "Voldemort." And lots of senators and representatives have rushed for cameras to comment on the issue.
It would be news in any case when one of those "too big to fail" banks suffers such massive losses, and congressmen are never adverse to pronouncing on most public policy issues, so it's not surprising to see lots of them telling the rest of us what they think about it.
But there are 38 of them that have a particular reason to follow closely what happens to JPMorgan Chase in coming weeks. That's because, OpenSecrets.org's Russ Choma reports today, they own JPMorgan Chase equities.
"Usually, the money-in-politics conversation is about how much money a company has invested in a politician via campaign donations. In this case, while JPMorgan Chase has plenty invested, it also goes the other way: at least 38 members of Congress owned shares in the bank," Choma said.
"According to OpenSecrets.org data, which is based on personal financial disclosure forms filed by all members of Congress for the year 2010 (disclosure forms for 2011 were due this week, but aren't yet publicly available), 15 Democrats and 23 Republicans owned shares in JPMorgan Chase worth a total of between $2.1 million and $3.8 million," he said.
"The single biggest congressional shareholder in the company at that point was Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who reported owning at least $1,000,001 in JPMorgan Chase stock. Of course, for Lautenberg, who is listed as the fifth-richest senator with an estimated personal net worth of between $55 million and $116 million, the bank was just one of 190 assets he listed," Choma said.
For more from Choma on what it all means, go here.