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GOP congressman attacks opponent for owning stocks that he also owns

Under fire for his recent yacht purchase, Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) might want to check his own portfolio.

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) in 2014. CREDIT: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

A new ad from Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) accuses his Democratic opponent of rank hypocrisy for owning stock in some of the sectors he has spoken out against. There’s just one problem: Buchanan’s own holdings.

The 30-second spot, entitled “Two-Faced,” was unveiled by Buchanan’s re-election campaign on Tuesday. The ad attacks David Shapiro, the Democratic national party’s favorite for the nomination in Florida’s 16th district, for speaking out against gun violence, drug addiction, and environmental abuses — despite his own holdings.

The ad claims that Shapiro owns stock in “two companies responsible for the Gulf Oil spill” (Transocean and Halliburton), “drugmakers accused of fueling” the opiate epidemic (Johnson & Johnson), and “companies that make assault weapons and cop-killer bullets” (Savage Arms). A ThinkProgress review of Shapiro’s financial disclosure statement revealed that he reported owning less than $1,001 in Transocean, and between $1,001 and $15,000 each worth of Halliburton and Johnson & Johnson stock. Florida Politics reports Shapiro holds shares in index funds that contain shares of gun and ammunition makers Olin Corp. and Vista Outdoor Inc. — Savage Arms’ parents company.

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But a ThinkProgress review of Buchanan’s own personal financial disclosure form reveals that he owns more than $15,000 worth of BNY Mellon Large Cap Stock Fund, more than $100,000 worth of BNY Mellon Income Stock Fund, and more than $100,000 in BNY Mellon Mid Cap Multi-Strategy Fund — three mutual funds that invest in other stocks. Among those funds’ holdings: more than 320,000 Johnson & Johnson shares, more than 24,000 shares of Halliburton, and over 130,000 shares of Transocean.

While it does not appear that Buchanan owns stock — directly or indirectly — in Savage Arms or its parent Vista Outdoor, he has received more than $14,000 in support from the National Rifle Association over his tenure in Congress.

“You just can’t trust anything David Shapiro says,” the Buchanan ad concludes — an ironic charge given Buchanan’s own hypocrisy. The sixth-term U.S. Representative was once named one of CREW’s Most Corrupt Members of Congress and has come under fire recently for purchasing a yacht on the same day he voted to lower his own taxes.