House lawmakers of all stripes are continuing to fuel their personal wealth with investments in the energy sector, according to recently released financial disclosure reports.
Members of Congress are required to broadly detail their personal holdings each year on financial disclosure forms, revealing whether they own assets such as stocks and bonds, savings accounts, rental homes or undeveloped property, as well as liabilities like home mortgages and student loan debt.
Numerous lawmakers from both major parties are investors in energy industry-related stocks like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., and it is not unusual to find House members or senators who hold private mineral rights.
While some lawmakers, like Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), are longtime investors in the energy industry — Carter owns between $250,000 and $500,000 in Exxon Mobil stock, an asset he has held in some form dating back to at least 1992 — others reported shoring up their investments in 2014, the year covered by the most recent round of financial disclosures.
Although lawmakers must disclose the sale and purchase of assets, they do so only in broad categories and must similarly report any assets in broad ranges, like Carter’s Exxon Mobil stock value.
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) is among those House lawmakers who reported new energy assets in their latest reports.
Black’s husband, David Black, reported adding to his existing stakes in Occidental Petroleum Corp., Schlumberger Ltd. and EOG Resources, as well as purchasing new shares in Chevron Corp., Phillips 66, Kinder Morgan and the Williams Cos.
In her 2013 report, Black reported that her husband owned at least $450,000 in shares of Occidental Petroleum, Schlumberger and EOG Resources, a combined amount that rose to at least $950,000 in her latest disclosure.
In addition, David Black reported adding at least $250,000 in Chevron stock, as well as $100,000 each in Kinder Morgan, Williams and NextEra Energy stock, and at least $15,000 in Phillips 66.
David Black also owns at least $1 million in an asset in energy master limited partnership income. The investment is listed under a special provision that allows members of Congress to provide only a lower bound on the value of an asset — specifically $1 million — when it is owned solely by a spouse or child.
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), chairman of the House Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, also added to a portfolio already populated with energy investments.
Simpson reported making purchases of between $1,000 and $15,000 in stock of Fred Olsen Energy, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Newcrest Mining.
In his prior year report — which included optional detailed financial records omitted from his latest filing — Simpson reported owning about $2,500 in Royal Dutch Shell, $2,400 in Fred Olsen Energy and $2,000 in Newcrest Mining.
Both Simpson and his spouse also reported owning between $100,000 and $250,000 each in an American Estate & Trust "precious metals" IRA. The accounts did not produce any income in 2014.
Unlike Simpson, his colleague on the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), added brand new energy investments to a portfolio that previously contained no such assets.
Yoder purchased stakes in more than a dozen partnerships — retaining some, like Alliance Resource Partners, for less than a calendar year before selling the investments off.
At the end of 2014, he reported owning stakes of between $1,000 and $15,000 each in Access Midstream Partners, Enable Midstream Partners, Energy Transfer Equity, EnLink Midstream Partners, EnLink Midstream, Enterprise Products Partners, Magellan Midstream Partners, MarkWest Energy Partners, MPLX, Plains All American Pipeline, Regency Energy Partners, Sunoco Logistics Partners, Targa Resources Partners, Tesoro Logistics, Valero Energy Partners, Western Gas Partners and Williams Partners. He also reported a smaller stake of between $1 and $1,000 in Oiltanking Partners.
But Yoder reported that none of the investments yielded more than $200 in income, meaning that even if he claimed the maximum amount on each asset, he earned no more than $3,600 in 2014.