Former astronaut and U.S. Navy captain Mark Kelly is the junior U.S. Senator from Arizona — a seat he’s held since 2020, defeating rising MAGA multi-millionaire star Blake Masters in 2022. The two men don’t agree on a lot of policy issues, but they do agree that a Senate seat shouldn’t function as an investment crystal ball.
This week, Kelly put his money where his mouth is, announcing that “elected officials shouldn’t benefit financially from the information they learn on the job. That’s why Senator Ossoff and I both put our assets in blind trusts. And it’s why we’re working to make this the standard.”
(Ossoff, a Democratic Senator from Georgia, has been pushing legislation that would ban members of Congress and their spouses from trading stocks while in office. Current rules allow members of Congress and their families to trade stocks as long as they disclose the moves within 45 days, though dozens of lawmakers have failed to file reports on time.)
Kelly earns an annual salary of $187,000 but, based on assets he outlined to the Senate Ethics Committee while running for U.S. Senate, he has assets worth up to $27 million.*
Masters, the former COO of tech billionaire Peter Thiel‘s company Thiel Capital, whose wealth rivals Kelly’s, agrees with the two Democrats on the issue. Masters said recently that “members of Congress should not be buying call options on Big Tech companies they’re in charge of regulating, that is ludicrous.”
It’s a relevant stance because Masters, a lawyer, investor and Thiel acolyte, is widely expected to compete for Arizona’s other Senate seat in the 2024 election — the seat currently held by incumbent Democrat-turned-Independent Kyrsten Sinema. The race would pit him first against another MAGA firebrand, the election denier Kari Lake.
Elected officials shouldn’t benefit financially from the information they learn on the job.— Senator Mark Kelly (@SenMarkKelly) September 14, 2023
That’s why @SenOssoff and I both put our assets in blind trusts.
And it’s why we’re working to make this the standard.
NOTE: Ossoff (D-Georgia), who won his seat as the senior U.S. Senator from Georgia in 2021, was previously a documentary filmmaker and investigative journalist. His production company, The World Investigates (TWI), works with reporters to create documentaries about corruption in foreign countries.
*Kelly’s campaign spokesman said the Senator’s finances reflect the opportunities he’s had in his life: “Like other astronauts, after a 25-year career in public service, Mark had a lot of speaking and business opportunities that came out of his experiences.”