Democrat Elaine Luria may hate Facebook, but her stock portfolio doesn’t

Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA) criticized Facebook for its role in spreading misinformation and fueling “divisions” in US politics, ultimately leading to the June 6 uprising. January – an event she was charged with investigating.

And while Luria may really want to “put the blame on tech companies,” she also wants to hold tech companies in her account.

According to her 2021 financial disclosure, Luria holds between $1 million and $5 million in Facebook stock (now “Meta”). Those shares, jointly owned by her husband, make her Facebook’s largest shareholder in Congress and look likely to ease the pressure of her critics.

At a town hall last month, Luria – who sat on the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 uprising – said it was time to “put the blame on tech companies”, criticizing him. tech giants for “amplifying misinformation”.

“I think we should hold the tech companies responsible,” says Luria. “I am aware that Facebook, Twitter, and other tech companies have been asked to testify before Congress about algorithms, about their impact.”

She also connected the platform to the riot, telling the audience that when it came to “Jan. 6 related issues, “social media has” added to the division in our political narrative” and “eventually led to the events” of the uprising.

“The spread of disinformation you know, which ultimately led to events, partly the events of January 6, were actually part of our investigation,” she said. . “It’s very important to understand the impact of social media and how amplifying misinformation online has impacted that.”

And while Luria has never received money from Facebook’s PACs, when it comes to spreading political information, Luria herself often turns to the company.

Since its first congressional bid in 2018, Luria’s campaign has paid Facebook $354,540 for ads, according to data from the Facebook Ads Library. She’s spent up to $60,000 since January 6, 2021.

(It is impossible to know from public information exactly how much she has spent since January 6. Facebook provides the data to the extent and the Luria campaign does not account for its Facebook expenses, leaving the purchase alone. goods for digital marketers.)

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with Luria’s claims about the role of social media in amplifying misinformation and reinforcing trust, drawn up through years of research. But those public criticisms may appear to run counter to her personal financial interests.

However, these positions don’t necessarily translate into conflicts of interest, based on the committee’s work, said Kedric Payne, ethics director at the nonpartisan watchdog Campaign Legal Center.

“One problem with stock-owning legislators is the perception of official decisions being made to benefit their stock rather than the public,” Payne said. “However, this perception of self-dealing disappears when a legislator takes formal action that could harm their financial interests.”

Stephen Spaulding, senior adviser for public policy at the good government group Common Cause, told The Daily Beast that disclosure rules are valid precisely for these situations.

“Disclosure of Members’ financial holdings is a way for their members to assess potential conflicts of interest and hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest. . That’s what the transparency related to Representative Luria’s financial holdings at Facebook made the public feel in this example,” Spaulding said. He added that the proposed reforms “must be a pillar of consensus” in Parliament.

However, Luria called the proposed bipartisan trading bans “bullshit”.

“I think the whole concept is bullshit. Because I thought, why do you think members of Congress are going to be bad or corrupt? ” said Luria in a February interview with Punchbowl.

“It makes no sense to assume that officials will use their positions of power” for some nefarious means or for their own gain, she added.

“So I strongly oppose any such legislation,” Luria said.

The Daily Beast contacted Luria’s office, but received no response.

The day before Punchbowl did that interview, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – who previously opposed the trading ban – appeared to change her stance, a move that split Luria more than just the vast majority. her Democratic colleagues but also the leadership of the House.

It’s not just a Democrat problem. The trading ban is now gaining traction on both sides, thanks in large part to high-profile federal investigations into several elected officials after news reports revealed shady dealings during the pandemic. broadcast. And as that report continued to roll out, Republicans began pushing to propose their own versions.

Last year, Luria reported a net worth of $3.2 million to $12.4 million and transactions of up to $1 million at the end of March, including a sale of $250,001 to $500,000 in stock in Chinese tech giant Ali Baba. (Congressional data are only in scope.)

Luria, a Navy veteran and two-term moderate, won the Democratic primaries for lack of a challenger, but she is seen as a vulnerable incumbent. Her county, a purple area that covers most of the Hampton Roads area, was redrawn in December, when it shifted to a Republican six-point advantage, according to FiveThirtyEight. (The Virginia Supreme Court has appointed independent judges to redistribute the state.)

And while both of her most likely GOP opponents — state senator Jen Kiggans and educator Jarome Bell — reportedly hold any stock individually, Luria is more likely to clash with them over announced the 2020 election and the uprising that followed.

Kiggans, currently the most popular Republican candidate, is one of four Virginia senators calling for a “forensic examination” of the 2020 results, even though she cast that vote in February, roughly late. 18 months.

Bell, a right-wing MAGA hardcore and conspiracy theorist who recently appeared on stage with former President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago, recently polled even more stronger than Kiggans in his confrontation with Luria. This week, he reiterated his belief that the 2020 election had been stolen and demanded once again “execution of all involved.”

But here, Luria and Facebook seem to be linked. After the January 6 attacks, the company cut donations to those who opposed the election, a promise that has so far stood. Democrat Elaine Luria may hate Facebook, but her stock portfolio doesn’t


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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