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Emac's Bottom Line

The Congressmen Who Own Stakes in the Automakers

Emac's Bottom Line FOXBusiness

There's a lot at stake in a potential $34 bn bailout of the automakers, as their chief executives head to Capitol Hill to ask for taxpayer funds.

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That could include the personal stakes that elected officials own in the automakers.

Twenty-five members of Congress have reported on their financial disclosure forms that they own stock or other capital interests in the Big Three automakers, based on data compiled from the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington, DC research group that tracks money in US politics. Fox News senior information specialist James Farrell pulled the data noted below.

Farrell notes that judicial ethics rules "prevent any bankruptcy judge with holdings in a company from presiding over a bankruptcy case. Essentially deciding whether or not the company has to file seems to be a little different."

He adds: "If GM files for bankruptcy, the stock held by the politicians becomes essentially worthless overnight because they would be unsecured creditors at the absolute bottom of the bankruptcy food chain," noting that, at a minimum, all shareholders "would get a significant haircut."

Currently, the auto industry bailout is being debated as a specific, new piece of legislation. Whether it would be subsequently enacted as an amendment to the initial legislation codifying the Troubled Asset Relief Program is not clear at this point. If it is new legislation, all of Congress would be voting on it.

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Already, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), who lost her re-election bid, and Rep. Michael Castle (R-Del.) and a number of other Congressmen who own stakes sit on committees that conducted the first hearings on the auto industry bailout request prior to Thanksgiving.

Worth noting, too, is that Rep. John Campbell, (R-Calif.) plans to only vote present on any bailout measure for the automakers, because, as a former car dealer, he still owns land on which his former business sits. His staff says the Congressman doesn't want even the appearance of a conflict of interest, a report indicates. Rep. Campbell voted yes on the financial bailout.

The information below on the Congressmen with holdings in Ford, General Motors and Chrysler comes from Congress's 2007 financial disclosure forms, filed in May 2008, the most recent data available. Members of Congress are not required to report actual dollar sums, instead, they are allowed to report dollar ranges:

General Motors

Politician Amount
John D. Dingell (D-Mich) $650,003 to $1,350,000
Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) $8,459 to $20,861
Jon L. Kyl (R-Ariz) $4,729
Judd Gregg (R-NH) $2,002 to $30,000
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex)
$1,001 to $15,000
Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif) $1,001 to $15,000
Stephen Ira Cohen (D-Tenn) $1,001 to $15,000
F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis) $1,001 to $15,000
Todd Akin (R-Mo) $1,001 to $15,000
Eric Cantor (R-Va) $1,001 to $15,000
Steve Kagen (D-Wis) $1,001 to $15,000
Tom Coburn (R-Okla) Up to $2,000

Source: Open Secrets, Center for Responsive Politics.

Note: Rep. John Dingell's wife is the executive director for public affairs for G.M. and a descendant of the Fisher brothers, who founded the company that became General Motors 100 years ago. While Dingell's spouse, Deborah Dingell, does not lobby Congress or the administration on GM's behalf, "she makes the case for the company, the auto industry and the state of Michigan in public and in private," a recent New York Times story says.


Politician Amount
Jon L. Kyl (R-Ariz) $5,047
Tom Coburn
$3,003 to $46,000
Virgil H. Goode Jr.
$15,001 to $50,000
Dave Weldon
$15,001 to $50,000
James M. Inhofe
$15,001 to $50,000
Grace Napolitano
$15,001 to $50,000
Elizabeth Dole
$1,380 to $2,875
Ray LaHood
$1,001 to $15,000
Todd Akin
$1,001 to $15,000
Michael N. Castle
$1,001 to $15,000
Jim Moran
$1,001 to $15,000
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
$1 to $1,000
Michael Burgess
$1 to $1,000
John McCain
Up to $2,000
Jeff Bingaman
Up to $1,000

Source: Open Secrets, Center for Responsive Politics.

Chrysler LLC

Politician Amount
Thad McCotter (R-Mich) $1,001 to  $15,000

Source: Open Secrets, Center for Responsive Politics.

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