The Members of Congress Who Profit From War (2022)


The Members of Congress Who Profit From War (1)

Devon Ravine/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP

General Timothy Ray speaks during a ceremony at Duke Field, near Fort Walton Beach, Florida, December 19, 2019, marking the arrival of the Air Force’s newest helicopter, the MH-139A Grey Wolf, built by Boeing. Fifty-one members of Congress and their spouses own between $2.3 and $5.8 million worth of stock in Boeing and other major defense contractors.

(Video) Members of Congress Caught Profiting Off Ukraine War

Sludgeproduces investigative journalism on lobbying and money in politics.The American Prospectis re-publishing this article.

It was shortly after midnight in Baghdad on Friday, Jan. 3, when a missile strike ordered by President Trump killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

When stock markets opened the next day, dozens of members of Congress saw bumps in their portfolios as their holdings in defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon increased in value on the possibility of war. Over the next three trading days, the leading defense industry stock index would surge 2.4% above Thursday’s close.

Among these members of Congress with personal investments in the defense industry are several who sit on committees that determine major sources of funding for defense companies and weapons contractors.

According to a Sludge review of financial disclosures, 51 members of Congress and their spouses own between $2.3 and $5.8 million worth of stocks in companies that are among the top 30 defense contractors in the world. Members of Congress generally report the values of their investments in ranges, so it’s not possible to know exactly how much their stocks are worth. As Congress debates whether to limit President Trump’s power to take military action against Iran, the complete list of senators and representatives who own defense stocks is displayed below in this article.

Eighteen members of Congress, combined, own as much as $760,000 worth of stock of Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor in terms of overall defense revenues. The value of Lockheed Martin stock surged by 4.3% on the day after Soleimani’s assassination—a day in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average overall traded down.


Since Dec. 27, 2019, the day an American contractor was killed by a rocket in Iraq, the aerospace and defense sector has outperformed all other sectors in the S&P 500, according to a Jan. 8 Marketwatch write-up of research from Bespoke Investment Group. “Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and L3 are each more than three standard deviations above their 50-day moving average,” Marketwatch wrote.

(Video) Gravitas: Western companies profiting from Russia's war

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a resolution directing President Trump to terminate the use of the military to engage in hostilities in or against Iran unless Congress has authorized such action or to defend against an imminent threat. A similar resolution may be considered by the Senate this week. The House may vote on additional measures related to Iran, including Rep. Ro Khanna’s (D-Calif.) bill to block funding for military action against Iran and Rep. Barbara Lee’s (D-Calif.) bill to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force that Congress passed after 9/11.

Rep. Khanna’s wife, Ritu Khanna, owns as much as $376,000 in defense stocks. Khanna told Sludge in an email that he and his wife maintain independent finances and file taxes separately.

“I have not personally invested in any defense stocks,” Khanna said. “I will continue to fight for a progressive foreign policy for this country rooted in diplomacy and regional dialogue. That’s why I have consistently voted against bloated defense spending and sought accountability from some of our nation’s largest defense contractors.”

Serious Conflicts of Interest

Members of Congress’s investments in defense contractors may present more significant potential conflicts of interest than investments in other industries because the contractors rely heavily on defense spending that is approved by Congress for their revenue.

More than 70% of Lockheed Martin’s $51 billion in 2018 revenue came from sales to the U.S. government, for example. Companies like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon are considered “pure plays” because they sell their products almost exclusively to the government through appropriations approved by Congress.

“Members of Congress should divest from all investments tied to their congressional responsibilities and avoid any actual or potential conflicts of interest or ethics dilemmas,” Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, told Sludge.

In the Senate, nearly one-third of the members of the Defense Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee own stocks in top defense contractors. The subcommittee is in charge of drafting the procurement section of the annual Defense spending bill, which allocates funding for the Defense Department and specifies weapons systems and other goods for the department to purchase from private contractors.

In the 2020 Defense appropriations bill, the subcommittee approved $1.85 billion for 18 more F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircrafts and spare parts from Lockheed Martin. Subcommittee member Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) owns as much as $100,000 worth of stock in Lockheed Martin. The subcommittee also recommended $1.1 billion for 6 P-8A Poseidon aircraft, which is a maritime patrol and reconnaissance plane made by Boeing. Subcommittee members Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) own as much as a combined $750,000 in Boeing stock.


(Video) Members of Congress bought defense stocks ahead of Ukraine invasion

A spokesperson for Feinstein, whose husband owns as much as $650,000 worth of Boeing stock, told Sludge that the senator “has no involvement in her husband’s financial and business decisions,” adding that “the senator’s assets are in a blind trust, which has been the case since her arrival in the Senate.”

The House Foreign Affairs Committee oversees arms controls and exports, yet at least four of its members have investments in defense companies whose foreign sales fall under their jurisdiction.

Foreign arms sales that are proposed by the president are referred to the Foreign Affairs Committee for approval, modification, or rejection. The committee may hold hearings on the sales to ask questions or raise concerns before the sales are approved, and it can initiate a joint resolution of disapproval in order to block or modify a sale.

Companies that Foreign Affairs Committee members are invested in, including Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics, have been approved for foreign sales and partnerships in recent years.

House Oversight and Reform Committee Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) owns as much as $400,000 worth of stock in Leidos, which is paid billions of dollars to provide information technology services for the Defense Department. In May 2019, Leidos CEO Roger Krone testified before Connolly’s committee in favor of legislation calling on the government to guarantee back pay for contractors in the wake of government shutdowns. Connolly had written a letter to House appropriators months earlier seeking support for such a bill.

Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) have re-introduced their Ban Conflicted Trading Act, which would prohibit members of Congress from buying and selling individual stocks, giving them six months from enactment to divest their shares, and from serving on corporate boards, something that’s already banned in the Senate but not in the House.

(Video) Congressional Stock Trading - If You Don’t Know, Now You Know | The Daily Show

“Members of Congress serve the American people, not their stock portfolios,” Sen. Brown previously told Sludge. “Elected officials have access to nonpublic information that can affect individual companies and entire industries. There must be more accountability and transparency to prevent members from using this information and abusing their positions for personal gain.”

Four companies—Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Dynamics—make up 90% of arms sales to Saudi Arabia in deals worth over $125 billion, according to a July 2019 report by the Center for International Policy. American-made weapons have been used by Saudi Arabia’s government in the war in Yemen, with a death toll that has risen over 100,000, including 12,000 civilians from attacks targeting them.

Nearly half of the federal discretionary budget goes to defense—$623 billion in 2018. In his 2020 Pentagon budget request, President Trump proposed increasing that amount to $750 billion. These annual totals understate total military spending: a May report from the Center for International Policy found that, counting all ten funding sources for war fighting, the actual total amount spent on defense in 2019 would be $1.254 trillion, nearly as much as the $1.359 trillion spent in the entire discretionary budget, including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Homeland Security, Energy, and more.

Of the at least 380 former high-ranking Department of Defense officials who went through the revolving door to become lobbyists or senior executives in 2018, around one quarter joined the top 5 defense contractors, according to the Project On Government Oversight: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman. Current U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is a former lobbyist at Raytheon, which over the past two election cycles spent $6.4 million on campaign contributions and $20 million on federal lobbying.


Sludge built a tool that scrapes the House and Senate financial disclosure portals and extracts machine-readable data. Data from financial disclosures that were handwritten and scanned were manually entered by Sludge reporters. The Senate data comes in two sets: one for the most recently filed annual reports, which cover the entire 2018 calendar year, and another for the periodic transaction reports, which log stock purchases or sales within 45 days of the trade. By adding in 2019 purchases and sales with the 2018 annual data, we arrived at finalized totals for senators as of Dec. 13, 2019. The House data does not include periodic transaction reports, so it’s possible that House members have sold or bought defense stocks since Dec. 31, 2018 that are not reflected in this article.

Donald Shaw

Donald Shaw is a money-in-politics reporter and a co-founder of Sludge.

Read more by Donald Shaw

David Moore

David Moore is a co-founder of Sludge.

(Video) How Congress Makes Bank Off War | RepresentUs

Read more by David Moore


Who makes money off of war? ›

A large portion of these contracts -- one-quarter to one-third of all Pentagon contracts in recent years -- have gone to just five major corporations: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman.

Who makes the most money from war? ›

1. Lockheed Martin Corp. Lockheed Martin is by far the largest defense contractor in the world. In 2017, the Bethesda, Maryland, company made $44.9 billion in arms and defense contracts, nearly twice the amount of arms sales at Boeing, the second largest defense contractor.

What is the best defense stock to buy? ›

  • Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) generates the lion's share of its sales from government contracts.
  • Raytheon Technologies (NYSE:RTX) is one of the top defense contractors worldwide. ...
  • Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) operates a highly diversified defense operation.
19 Sept 2022

How many members of Congress are there? ›

There are a total of 535 Members of Congress. 100 serve in the U.S. Senate and 435 serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. How long do members of Congress' terms last? Members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms and are considered for reelection every even year.

How does America make money from war? ›

Who Benefits? Companies profit from a war economy in at least three ways: logistics and reconstruction, private security contracting, and supplying weapons.

Who profited the most from the Afghanistan war? ›

The U.S. spent billions over the years to sustain its troops in Afghanistan and hired military contractors to feed and house them. Those contractors profited the most from the war, but those systems can lead to fraud and waste.

Who makes the most weapons in the world? ›

United States

Who supplies guns to U.S. military? ›

CharacteristicArms salesTotal sales
Lockheed Martin Corp. (US)58,21065,398
Raytheon (US)36,78056,587
Boeing (US)32,13058,158
Northrop Grumman Corp. (US)30,42036,799
9 more rows
5 Aug 2022

How does war benefit the economy? ›

Heightened military spending during conflict does create employment, additional economic activity and contributes to the development of new technologies which can then filter through into other industries. These are some of the often discussed positive benefits of heightened government spending on military outlays.

Which stocks go up during war? ›

In general, defense stocks (companies that produce weapons and armaments) tend to fare the best during a wartime environment. Energy companies may also see a boost in conflicts that result in higher oil and commodity prices.

What stocks do well during inflation? ›

Inflation-indexed bonds and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), tend to increase their returns with inflationary pressures. Consumer staples stocks mostly do well because price increases are passed on to consumers.

How much do senators make? ›

Most senators and representatives make an annual salary of $174,000. Those in leadership make a bit more. For example, the speaker of the House makes $223,500 and majority and minority leaders in the House and Senate make $193,400. Congressmen earn this annual salary for the duration of their terms.

Who is the oldest senator? ›

At 89, Feinstein is the oldest sitting U.S. senator. In March 2021, Feinstein became the longest-serving U.S. senator from California, surpassing Hiram Johnson. Upon the death of Don Young, she became the oldest sitting member of Congress.

What are members of Congress called? ›

Also referred to as a congressman or congresswoman, each representative is elected to a two-year term serving the people of a specific congressional district. Among other duties, representatives introduce bills and resolutions, offer amendments and serve on committees.

Is war profiteering illegal? ›

This crime would be a felony subject to the criminal penalties of up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $1 million or twice the illegal gross profits of the crime, whichever is higher.

How can we stop the war? ›

10 Ways to Resolve All Conflicts and End War
  1. De-escalate the concept of enemy. ...
  2. Treat the other side with respect. ...
  3. Recognize that there is the perception of injustice on both sides. ...
  4. Be prepared to forgive and ask for forgiveness. ...
  5. Refrain from belligerence.

How much of the defense budget goes to contractors? ›

Of those funds, $439.4 billion (74 percent) were spent on contracts for products and services, while the remaining $154.6 billion (26 percent) paid the salaries of DOD personnel.

What is the biggest war company? ›

Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons. Lockheed Martin Corporation, based in Bethesda, Maryland, is the world's largest defense contractor.

Who is the biggest defense contractor? ›

Lockheed Martin

How much did Halliburton make from the Iraq war? ›

Halliburton gained $39.5 billion in "federal contracts related to the Iraq war". Many individuals have asserted that there were profit motives for the Bush-Cheney administration to invade Iraq in 2003.

Does US sell arms to China? ›

We are now in the seventh year of American military exports to China—exports which began in 1981 as a result of an overall liberalization of U.S. trade policy toward Beijing and continued in 1986 with the signing of a multi-million dollar avionics package to upgrade the Chinese F-8 air defense interceptor.

Which country has best weapons? ›

Military > Weapon holdings: Countries Compared
1United States38.54 million
2China34.28 million
3North Korea17.63 million
4Israel15.98 million
121 more rows

Which country has most powerful weapons in the world? ›

Here are the 10 countries with the most nuclear weapons:
  • Russia - 6,257.
  • United States - 5,550.
  • China - 350.
  • France - 290.
  • United Kingdom - 225.
  • Pakistan - 165.
  • India - 156.
  • Israel - 90.

Who sells the most weapons in the world? ›

Market share of the leading exporters of major weapons 2017-2021. The United States had a market share of 39 percent in international arms exports between 2017 and 2021. The second largest supplier of major weapons worldwide was Russia, accounting for 19 percent of exports over the observed period.

How much money does the US make from selling weapons? ›

U.S. arms exports from 2000 to 2021 (in TIV expressed in million constant 1990 U.S. dollars)
CharacteristicExport value in TIV in million constant (1990) U.S. dollars
9 more rows
4 days ago

Who does the US sell the most weapons to? ›

U.S. arms exports in 2021, by country (in TIV expressed in million constant 1990 U.S. dollars)
Exports toExport value in TIV in million constant (1990) U.S. dollars
Saudi Arabia1,389
United Kingdom875
9 more rows
4 days ago

How is Ukraine affecting the US economy? ›

The US economy contracted in the first three months of the year partly due to trade disruption from the Ukraine war. Figures from the Commerce Department showed that gross domestic product fell at an annualised rate of 1.4%.

Is war actually good for the economy? ›

War and GDP per Capita

Producing weapons and munitions is counted positively, while killing people and destroying things is not counted at all. On the one hand, war can increase GDP per capita by reducing unemployment and by shifting people from family formation and other nonmarket activities into wartime production.

How does the war in Ukraine affect the economy? ›

The increased geopolitical risks induced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine will weigh adversely on global economic conditions throughout 2022. Such effects are estimated in our model to reduce GDP and boost inflation significantly, exacerbating the policy trade-offs facing central banks around the world.

How will the war in Ukraine affect the stock market? ›

Key takeaways. The Ukraine conflict remains a potential source of increased short-term market volatility. Disruption of Russian energy exports as a result of the conflict has raised global energy and food prices.

What stocks should I buy for war? ›

The eight best defense stocks to buy in 2022:
  • Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT)
  • Boeing Co. (BA)
  • AeroVironment Inc. (AVAV)
  • BWX Technologies Inc. (BWXT)
  • Raytheon Technologies Corp. (RTX)
  • General Dynamics Corp. (GD)
  • Textron Inc. (TXT)
  • CAE Inc. (CAE)
24 Jun 2022

Where do you put cash during inflation? ›

How to profit from inflation
  • Real estate. Single-family homes financed with low, fixed-rate mortgages tend to perform well during periods of inflation. ...
  • Value stocks. Some research has shown that value stocks tend to do better than growth stocks during periods of inflation. ...
  • Commodities. ...
  • TIPS. ...
  • I-Bonds.

What should you buy before inflation? ›

If you are wondering what food to buy before inflation hits more, some of the best food items to stockpile include:
  • Peanut butter.
  • Pasta.
  • Canned tomatoes.
  • Baking goods – flour, sugar, yeast, etc.
  • Cooking oils.
  • Canned vegetables and fruits.
  • Applesauce.
12 Feb 2022

Should I take my money out of the bank 2022? ›

Investor takeaway. There are a lot of better choices than holding cash in 2022. Inflation will deteriorate the value of your savings if you decide to stash your cash in a bank account. Over the long run, you'll be better off investing now, even if expected returns are lower than they've been historically.

Is Bitcoin is a good investment? ›

You can easily trade Bitcoin for cash or assets like gold instantly with incredibly low fees. The high liquidity associated with Bitcoin makes it a potentially great investment vessel if you're looking for short-term profit. Digital currencies may also be a long-term investment due to their high market demand.

What is U.S. president salary? ›

On May 14th, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Treasury, Postal Service and General Government included a provision in the Treasury appropriations bill that would increase the President's salary to $400,000, effective January 20, 2001.

How much does the vice president of the United States make? ›


How much does the president get paid? ›

Presidential Salary and Perks

In 2022, the presidential salary is $400,000, which is taxable to the president as income. There is also a $50,000 expense account, which is not taxed.

Which senators are the wealthiest? ›

List of current members of the United States Congress by wealth
1Rick ScottRepublican
2Mark WarnerDemocratic
3Greg GianforteRepublican
4Paul MitchellRepublican
46 more rows

Who is the youngest person in Congress? ›

Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) is the youngest member of the 117th Congress at age 27. He replaced Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress and was the youngest of the 116th Congress. Cawthorn is the youngest person elected to the U.S. Congress since Jed Johnson Jr. in 1964.

How many terms can a senator serve? ›

After this article becomes operative, no person shall be elected to a full term as a Senator more than twice, or to a full term as a Representative more than six times; no person who has been a Senator for more than three years of a term to which some other person was elected shall subsequently be elected as a Senator ...

What are the main powers given to Congress? ›

The Constitution grants Congress the sole authority to enact legislation and declare war, the right to confirm or reject many Presidential appointments, and substantial investigative powers.

What is a congressman vs senator? ›

How many people do congressmen and senators represent? Members of the U.S. House of Representatives each represent a portion of their state known as a Congressional District, which averages 700,000 people. Senators however, represent the entire state.

What makes up Congress? ›

Congress has two parts, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Which industries thrive during war? ›

Here are the 10 companies that profit the most from war:
  • United Technologies (UTX) -- aircraft, electronics, engines. ...
  • L-3 Communications (LLL) -- electronics. ...
  • Finmeccanica -- aircraft, artillery, engines, electronics, vehicles and missiles. ...
  • EADS -- aircraft, electronics, missiles and space.
10 Mar 2013

Which stocks go up during war? ›

In general, defense stocks (companies that produce weapons and armaments) tend to fare the best during a wartime environment. Energy companies may also see a boost in conflicts that result in higher oil and commodity prices.

Is war good for the economy? ›

Heightened military spending during conflict does create employment, additional economic activity and contributes to the development of new technologies which can then filter through into other industries. These are some of the often discussed positive benefits of heightened government spending on military outlays.

What are the benefits of war? ›

In increasing the power of governments, war has also brought progress and change, much of which we would see as beneficial: an end to private armies, greater law and order, in modern times more democracy, social benefits, improved education, changes in the position of women or labor, advances in medicine, science and ...

Where do I invest in case of war? ›

Key Takeaways. Defense stocks, energy stocks, commodities, cash, and ETFs are stocks and investments that typically do well during times of war and conflict. However, it is often best to build a well-diversified portfolio than try to pick the individual winning stocks during a conflict.

What can I buy during war? ›

Commodities to Buy During War
  • Digital Gold. Gold, being a precious metal, has always held a special place in the hearts of people around the world. ...
  • Digital Silver: Commodities to Buy During War. ...
  • Blue-Chip War Stocks: Commodities to Buy During War. ...
  • Commodity-based ETFs: Commodities to Buy During War. ...
  • Daily Commodities.
4 Apr 2022

Who said war is good for business? ›

Quote by Allen Ginsberg: “War is good business Invest your son”

What is the best thing to invest in? ›

12 best investments right now
  • High-yield savings accounts.
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Money market funds.
  • Government bonds.
  • Corporate bonds.
  • Mutual funds.
  • Index funds.
  • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
27 Sept 2022

How will the war in Ukraine affect the stock market? ›

Key takeaways. The Ukraine conflict remains a potential source of increased short-term market volatility. Disruption of Russian energy exports as a result of the conflict has raised global energy and food prices.

How is Ukraine affecting the US economy? ›

The US economy contracted in the first three months of the year partly due to trade disruption from the Ukraine war. Figures from the Commerce Department showed that gross domestic product fell at an annualised rate of 1.4%.

Does war cause inflation? ›

Relative to a no-war counterfactual, the model sees the war as reducing the level of global GDP about 1.5 percent and leading to a rise in global inflation of about 1.3 percentage points.

How does the war in Ukraine affect the economy? ›

The OECD has slashed its outlook for global growth and doubled inflation projection, warning fallout from war could worsen. The world economy will pay a “hefty price” for the war in Ukraine encompassing weaker growth, stronger inflation and potentially long-lasting damage to supply chains, the OECD said.

Who benefited from World War 2? ›

The United States benefited the most from WWII as it had a large population, technological prowess, and the capital necessary to change WWII machinations into business and industry that benefited the civilian. Europe saw great growth post-WWII; it just happened slower than it did in the United States and Japan.

What are 3 types of war? ›

Three pure types of war are distinguished, viz., absolute war, instrumental war, and agonistic fighting.

Why war is important for peace? ›

There is plenty of authority for the view that, in a chaotic and bloodthirsty world, war and the threat of violence are the essential building blocks for peace and stability. Thinkers in the ancient world, from China to Greece to Rome, regarded military might as essential for the maintenance of international order.


1. 'War is good business': How US weapons makers profit in Ukraine
2. John Mearsheimer On Who Gains The Most From The Ukraine-Russia War & What Could End Putin's Assault
3. Here's Who REALLY Won the War in Afghanistan
(Johnny Harris)
4. How Giant Investment Bank Goldman Sachs Is Profiting On Ukraine War
5. Making a Killing: Big Oil Reaps Record Profits Using Ukraine War as Pretext to Hike Gas Prices
(Democracy Now!)
6. Fueling the Climate Crisis: Examining Big Oil’s Prices, Profits, and Pledges
(Oversight Committee)

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