Republican Sen. Deb Fischer holds up to $100,000 in defense contractor Lockheed Martin stock while helping lead a Senate Armed Services subcommittee

Sen. Deb Fischer, a Republican of Nebraska, owns up to $100,000 in stock of defense contractor Lockheed Martin. Fischer is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Sen. Deb Fischer inherited up to $100,000 in Lockheed Martin stock from her mother in December 2021.
Fischer is the top Republican on a subcommittee that oversees missile defense. 
Lockheed Martin is a defense contractor that manufactures the Javelin missile system.

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 Nebraska owns between $50,001 and $100,000 in Lockheed Martin stock that she inherited on December 26, 2021, upon her mother’s death.   

Fischer serves as counsel to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — a Republican Senate leadership position — and is the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, which has responsibilities that include overseeing arms control, nuclear program, and ballistic missile defense policy. The subcommittee also has oversight of the Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency and the Nebraska-based US Strategic Command.

The two-term senator joins at least 12 other members of Congress this year who have either traded or currently own stock in Lockheed Martin as Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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 STOCK Act, allows members of Congress to buy, sell, and inherit individual stocks so long as they publicly disclose trades and holdings. 

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.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Politics, Military & Defense, Conflicted Congress, Deb Fischer, Senate, Stock Act, Politics, Nebraska, Defense, Lockheed Martin, Vladimir Putin, javelin, Raytheon, Ukraine

All Content from Business Insider

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.