Laws let Congress members trade stocks of companies they affect

Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. addresses the House after giving newly elected House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio the gavel during the first session of the 112th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. addresses the House after giving newly elected House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio the gavel during the first session of the 112th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

In this Dec. 20, 2011, photo, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio walks off the floor of the House chamber in Washington.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In this Dec. 20, 2011, photo, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio walks off the floor of the House chamber in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

— Editor’s note: This is the first part of a two-part investigation.

By Dan Keating

One hundred thirty members of Congress or their families have traded stocks collectively worth hun­dreds of millions of dollars in companies lobbying on bills that came before their commit­tees, a practice permitted under current ethics rules, a Washing­ton Post analysis has found.

The lawmakers bought and sold between $85 million and $218 million in 323 companies registered to lobby on legislation that appeared before them, ac­cording to an examination of all 45,000 individual congressional stock transactions contained in computerized financial disclo­sure data from 2007 to 2010.

Almost one in every eight trades — 5,531 — intersected with legislation. The 130 law­makers traded stocks or bonds in companies as bills passed through their committees or while Congress was still consid­ering the legislation.

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