A MarketWatch analysis of stock trading by members of Congress revealed that Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California was the second most active trader in Congress last year, buying and selling more than $52 million in securities in 2021.
A spokesperson for Khanna told MarketWatch that those trades were executed on behalf of Khanna’s wife, and that they were included in the congressman’s disclosures because regulations require members of Congress to disclose trades made by spouses in addition to those made by members themselves.
Khanna took to CNBC Wednesday to further defend himself against accusations of conflicts of interest related to his family’s finances, given that Congress wields great power over public companies in America.
“I’ve never traded stocks and support a ban on members of Congress not trading stocks,” he said. “I don’t think that should apply to spousal assets prior to marriage. I think that would be unfair.”
The congressman said that he doesn’t discuss stock trading with his wife, and that her investments are managed by an “independent party,” but did not explain how to enforce firewalls between representatives and their spouses when it comes to sensitive information learned on the job or how to prevent a spouses’ financial interests from affecting how a member of Congress might vote.
Khanna said that his wife, Ritu, brought significant assets to the marriage, in part due to her father’s entrepreneurial success. A New York Times story announcing the marriage in 2015 said that Ritu’s father was the chairman of an investment firm and chief executive of an Ohio automotive transmission parts supplier.