The Bull Moose Project has spearheaded a letter sent to Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA), asking that he publicly address whether the trustee for his investments has notified him regarding the sale of Apple stock and requesting the release of Senator Ossoff’s 2021 tax return. The New York Young Republican Club joined the Bull Moose Project in signing on to the letter.
Dear Senator Ossoff,
We write to you to express our concern about the influence of Big Tech monopolists on the political process. The four tech giants—Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google—continue to violate Americans’ civil liberties while undermining American economic and national security interests. As you know, the Senate is currently considering the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICO), a bipartisan proposal to rein in Big Tech’s monopolistic behavior. A report from July 2022 indicates you remain undecided on the legislation, which has been cosponsored by both the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Earlier this year, it was reported that you were the owner of as much as $5 million in Apple stock, the equivalent of around half of your net worth by one estimate. While we are aware that you put your assets into a blind trust following your swearing in, this alone does not preclude the possibility that your ownership of Apple stock could create conflicts of interest as you work on tech-related issues in the months ahead. As one journalist noted, the terms of the blind trust arrangement stipulates that the “trustee must notify [you] if the value of a particular asset is completely disposed of or if its value drops below $1,000.” In addition, given the stock’s steady and consistent gains in recent years and the significant portion of your net worth invested in it prior to the creation of the trust, it is highly likely you would know from capital gains reported in your 2021 tax return if significant sales were made.
As such, while you may not technically know exactly which transactions are taking place, the likely reality is that you still, to this day, have plenty of reason to know your blind trust still retains significant holdings in Apple. If the American public is to take your stated concern about conflicts of interest resulting from stock ownership seriously, you should increase transparency around your personal finances as soon as possible. Specifically, we encourage you to take the following measures:
1. We are calling on you to address publicly if the trustee has notified you that he or she sold all the stock.
2. We are calling for you to release publicly your 2021 tax return, which would shed light on whether there were substantial capital gains that were reported to the IRS based on the sale of that stock.
As a member of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee, your continued, effective knowledge of Apple stock ownership can create significant conflicts of interest around tech policy. A monopolistic corporation that silences Americans7 while cozying up to the Chinese communist regime8 should be held accountable by you and your colleagues, and failure to take these basic transparency measures will undermine credibility around your support for ethics reform and around these issues more generally.
Gavin M. Wax
New York Young Republican Club