It appears that <a href=”http://apnews.myway.com/article/20081117/D94GUIK80.html”>the auto bailout</a> is stalled for now, as congressional leadership and the Bush administration have come to loggerheads over providing $25 to $50 billion in loans to General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler.
I found it interesting that, as of December 2007 (the most recent date for which disclosures are available), just 27 of the 535 members of Congress owned stock in at least one of the big three automakers, according to <a href=”http://www.opensecrets.org”>Open Secrets</a>. They disclosed holdings worth between $755,000 and $1,866,000. Exclude Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., from the list (his wife is on <a href=”http://nalert.blogspot.com/2008/11/john-dingells-wife-on-gm-payroll.html”>GM’s payroll</a> and presumably the source of his $650,000 to $1.35 million in General Motors stock), and the numbers drop to a low range of $104,600 and a high range of $516,000–an average of between about $4,000 and $20,000.
By contrast, 90 members reported owning between $11.3 million and $32.8 million in stock from General Electric, which was the most popular investment.
It would appear that moving a bailout for Detroit, with the exception of Rep. Dingell, doesn’t represent much in the way of a conflict of interest for most members. The 12 members who invested in General Motors are <a href=”http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/search_results_detail.php?filtertype=H&year=2007&org=General+Motors&srchorg=GENERAL+MOTORS&srchtype=O”>here</a>, the 18 who invested in Ford are <a href=”http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/search_results_detail.php?filtertype=H&year=2007&org=Ford+Motor+Co&srchorg=FORD&srchtype=O”>here</a>, and the 3 who invested in Chrysler are <a href=”http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/search_results_detail.php?filtertype=H&year=2007&org=Chrysler+LLC&srchorg=CHRYSLER&srchtype=O”>here</a>). It will be curious to see, in June 2009, how much those holdings changed over the course of 2008.