North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx’s voting record shows she said No to federal Cannabis legalization. But that doesn’t stop her from investing in the pot industry and cashing in on marijuana stocks, reports Indy Week.
According to a report in Salon, Foxx, who wields power on the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform, has made at least six investments in Altria. Ever hear of them? Well, they’re “a leader in the burgeoning U.S. cannabis industry, since September of last year, according to financial disclosure reports.“
The stock buys haven’t previously been reported, according to Salon. They likely make Fox the largest holder of Cannabis-related stocks in Congress, according to market research firm Unusual Whales.
You may notice we say “likely.” It’s quite impossible for us to say for certain. That’s because members of Congress, almost unbelievably, are not required to disclose the exact amounts of their investments. If that sounds pretty damned close to just throwing the door open wide and inviting corruption into the halls of Congress, then, yeah.
Talk About Bad Optics.
The stock trades are particularly notable for their timing. They started just a few months before the U.S. House of Representatives passed the the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement Act (MORE) in December.
The MORE Act, you’ll remember, would serve to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. That’s a key goal of activists who say the herb’s current status as a controlled substance represents a big roadblock to full legalization. Foxx voted No on the measure.
It’s simple why Rep. Foxx’s investments raise concerns. They exemplify the ethical problems members of Congress create when trading individual stocks in an industry over which their actions have influence.
“This is so obviously a conflict of interest, I’m just not sure what else I can say, really,” said former White House ethics attorney Richard Painter. Painter served under President George W. Bush and is a University of Minnesota law professor. “It brings into question her credibility as a lawmaker.”
Rep. Foxx’s office did not respond to requests for comment.