WASHINGTON – Republicans in Congress who have criticized Warren Buffetts approach to tax policy are largely holding onto their stocks and bonds in Berkshire Hathaway.
That detail is found in lawmakers annual personal financial disclosures, released Thursday. The documents include such tidbits as Rep. Dennis Cardozas sale of the racehorse Unanimous Consent and the multimillion-dollar Virginia and North Carolina land holdings of New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney.
These financial disclosure reports are critical information for the press and the public to determine whether or not conflicts of interest are present, said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen in Washington. The purpose is not to show that theyre all millionaires. The real purpose is to show whether any specific member owns stock investments or property directly benefited by their actions in Congress.
Congress voted this year to require lawmakers to release information about mortgages on their personal residences, and the files released Thursday included such data for the first time. The change followed controversy over special interest-rate deals that Countrywide Financial Corp. made for some lawmakers.
The law will require members to report some transactions within 45 days after a trade.
There is a lot more that we are going to uncover, said Holman, whose group advocates for consumers.
Among the Berkshire investors in Congress are Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Finance Committee; Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Buffett CEO of Berkshire, has called for higher taxes for the top U.S. earners, including himself. President Obama began campaigning in 2011 for a so-called Buffett rule that would require a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on incomes exceeding $2 million.
Antonia Ferrier, a spokeswoman for Hatch, said the senator doesnt manage his stocks. Hatch has criticized the Buffett rule, calling it part of Obamas political games.