Utah congressman sold up to $15,000 in First Republic Bank shares amid March's banking crisis

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, disclosed that he sold up to $15,000 in First Republic Bank shares during last month's banking crisis. A spokesperson said he didn't break any laws in making the trades, and said Curtis' broker made the sales without input.

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, disclosed that he sold up to $15,000 in First Republic Bank shares during last month's banking crisis. A spokesperson said he didn't break any laws in making the trades, and said Curtis' broker made the sales without input. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)


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WASHINGTON — Utah Rep. John Curtis sold up to $15,000 of bank stocks as a national banking crisis unfolded in the wake of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse.

Curtis, a Republican, sold between $1,001 and $15,000 worth of stocks in First Republic Bank on March 16, according to financial disclosures.

After the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, First Republic Bank appeared to be on the brink of collapse, prompting fears about wider collapses across the country. The bank's share price plunged from $115 on March 8 to $34.27 on March 16, then fell further to around $13 per share over the next few days.

Curtis also sold between $1,001 and $15,000 in shares of Bank of America Corp., which stepped in with several other large banks to prop up First Republic. Both trades came from a joint account Curtis shares with his wife, according to the disclosures.

Lawmakers are required to disclose all stock trades within 45 days, but aren't required to report specific amounts.

A spokesperson for Curtis said the representative didn't break any laws in making the trades, and said Curtis' broker made the sales without input.

"Congressman Curtis has followed all applicable laws and submits all required disclosures," the spokesperson said in a statement to KSL.com. "He supports greater transparency around members' stock trades so the public can be more informed. To further distance himself from any concerns, all of his trades are made by his broker without his involvement."

Curtis' camp didn't specify the exact amount of the trades.

While lawmakers are allowed to buy and sell stocks, critics have for years contended that they could use inside information to guide decisions on trading. As bank stocks swung wildly, regulators privately briefed lawmakers on their plans to stabilize the system and save banks that were on the brink of failure, according to The Hill.

Curtis is one of at least three lawmakers who traded bank stocks during the banking crisis along with Reps. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., according to The Wall Street Journal. The trades prompt questions about what, if any, private information led lawmakers to sell shares during the crisis.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have defended legislators' rights to buy and sell stocks. In 2021, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., argued that lawmakers should be able to participate in the "free-market economy" of stock trading, after several members of her caucus — including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. — said it hurts the public trust in Congress if members trade individual stocks.

Curtis has previously spoken in favor of owning stocks, telling the Journal in 2022, "For years I've been building up a retirement, mostly in stocks. It's not as easy as 'don't do stocks.'"

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Bridger Beal-Cvetko covers Utah politics, Salt Lake County communities and breaking news for KSL.com. He is a graduate of Utah Valley University.

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