According to his Senate financial disclosure report, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) bought stock in a defense contractor shortly after convincing President Donald Trump to increase U.S. defense spending.
Record defense funding request
After a meeting with Inhofe on Dec. 4, Trump announced that he was requesting a record $750 billion in defense spending from Congress.
This was an apparent change in policy for Trump. The day before this announcement, Trump had tweeted his criticism of the current U.S. defense budget of $716 billion calling it “crazy" and an “uncontrollable Arms Race" with China.
I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race. The U.S. spent 716 Billion Dollars this year. Crazy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2018
This move came less than two months after Trump told members of his Cabinet that they needed to cut 5 percent from their budgets.
What did Inhofe do?
On Tuesday, Inhofe purchased between $50,001 and $100,000 worth of stock in Raytheon, a technology company with U.S. defense contracts. The Daily Beast, which first broke the story, noted that since the information regarding the military contract was already public knowledge, Inhofe was not guilty of insider trading or of violating any other Senate rule.
However, it is certainly inadvisable for the incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee to purchase tens of thousands of dollars in stock in a defense contractor.
A spokeswoman for Inhofe told TheBlaze that all of Inhofe's stock purchases are handled by a third party and that the senator was not aware of the purchase until Wednesday morning. After he discovered this purchase, the spokeswoman said, Inhofe “called his financial adviser and they reversed, or busted, the transaction. This means that the transaction was canceled before it was settled; the Senator never took ownership of it. Accordingly, the Senator's transaction report was amended and the stock purchase was removed. The amended report should now be available."
Inhofe also sent a letter to his financial adviser, who works with Capital Advisors Inc, to “no longer purchase defense or aerospace companies" due to his “new position as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee."