A Republican congressman who wants the government to spend more money on defense just bought stock in two defense contractors

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Rep. Kevin Hern
Rep. Kevin Hern, a Republican from Oklahoma, is investing his personal money in defense contractor stock. He has also called for increased federal spending on defense.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
  • A GOP representative who wants more military defense spending just invested in two defense contractors.

  • Rep. Kevin Hern and his wife invested up to $15,000 in both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies.

  • Hern has backed increasing federal military spending by 5%.

A Republican congressman who wants to increase federal military spending just personally invested money in two defense contractors.

Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma and his wife invested up to $15,000 in Raytheon Technologies and up to $15,000 in Lockheed Martin, according to a recently filed federal financial disclosure. Members of Congress are only required to disclose the value of their investments in broad ranges.

Raytheon Technologies is a defense contractor that creates drones, guided missiles, air defense systems, and other weapons platforms. Lockheed Martin similarly produces missiles and aerospace vehicles used in military operations.

Raytheon and Lockheed Martin's products have also been used in the war in Ukraine. In May, Insider identified 20 lawmakers who are invested in the two companies and were set to profit from the $40 billion Ukraine aid package that was later signed into action by President Joe Biden.

Hern is a member of the Republican Study Committee, a caucus of GOP House representatives that "provides the tools and research that members of Congress need to craft and advance policies," according to the committee's site.

As the chair of the committee's Budget and Spending Task Force, Hern and the committee released an alternative budget for the 2023 fiscal year that vows to cut $16.6 trillion in spending over 10 years while increasing defense funding by 5% to $845 billion.

Hern and his wife also recently invested up to $15,000 each in Microsoft, Intel, Home Depot, ExxonMobil, and several other companies, according to his congressional financial disclosure.

Hern's communications director, Miranda Dabney, told Insider: "Congressman Hern doesn't have any management or day-to-day control over his stock purchases or his businesses, in line with recommendations from the House Ethics Committee."

A stock-trade ban?

Only about a dozen members of Congress — Hern is not among them — have reported using what's known as a qualified blind trust, a formal arrangement, requiring congressional approval, in which a lawmaker officially transfers management of their financial assets to an independent trustee.

While congressional guidance suggests the trusts provide the "most comprehensive approach" to avoiding "potential conflicts of interest or the appearance of such conflicts," they can be expensive and time-consuming to establish.

More dramatically, members of Congress are currently debating whether they and their spouses should be allowed to invest in individual stocks.

In late 2021, Insider's "Conflicted Congress" investigation into federal lawmakers' personal finances revealed that Hern failed to properly disclose several stock trades worth as much as $2.7 million in violation of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012.

He's one of 65 members of Congress that Insider and other media organizations have since last year found to be in violation of the STOCK Act's disclosure provisions.

The investigation also found that 15 members of Congress who sit on the House or Senate armed-services committees also invest in defense contractors.

Hern's office declined to say whether the congressman supports banning members of Congress and their spouses from trading individual stocks.

Read the original article on Business Insider