Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidVoters need to feel the benefit, not just hear the message Schumer-McConnell dial down the debt ceiling drama Mellman: Are independents really so independent? MORE’s (D-Nev.) top energy aide made several thousand dollars in 2008 by investing in a solar-energy company that stood to benefit from tax legislation moving through Congress, according to a news account.
The investment by aide Chris Miller — described in a Wall Street Journal report Monday — drew a rebuke from Reid’s spokesman.
“Mr. Miller showed poor judgment, and Sen. Reid has made it very clear to Chris and all his staff that their actions must not only follow the law, but must meet the higher standards the public has a right to expect from elected officials and their staffs,” Reid spokesman Jim Manley told the Journal.
Miller doubled his $3,500 stock investment in a renewable-energy firm in 2008, according to the Journal report. The story notes that Reid helped pass an extension of renewable-energy tax credits that year that helped the industry.
Manley criticized the investment but said the aide did not affect renewable-energy industry tax policy. He also said other factors boosted the stock.
The news comes as Reid is locked in a tight reelection battle with Sharron Angle. Polls show a neck-and-neck race.
Miller told the Journal that his May 2008 sale of most of the stock purchased in January was unrelated to legislation that extended tax credits that are vital to renewable-energy companies.
Momentum for the legislation had picked up during the year and so did the value of Miller’s holdings, the Journal notes. The bill ultimately cleared Congress that fall.
“A spokesman for Mr. Reid says Mr. Miller doesn't work on that issue, and that on Capitol Hill, the tax credit was widely expected to pass,” the Journal piece notes.
Miller told the Journal, “You have cherry-picked information and woven a misleading narrative” and that "It's pretty straightforward: I bought on a dip and sold on spikes, none of which had anything to do with my job.”
The story is a broad look at stock purchases by Capitol Hill aides.
“Mr. Miller isn't the only Congressional staffer making such stock bets. At least 72 aides on both sides of the aisle traded shares of companies that their bosses help oversee, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of more than 3,000 disclosure forms covering trading activity by Capitol Hill staffers for 2008 and 2009,” the story states.