Dem running for Congress invests in company she blamed for jacking up housing prices

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By Gabe Kaminsky
Daily Caller News Foundation

Democratic Montana congressional nominee Monica Tranel owns thousands in Airbnb stock despite her previously blaming the company and others for a surge in housing prices, according to a financial disclosure.

Tranel owns between $15,000 and $50,000 in shares of Airbnb, the online marketplace company for people to rent out homes, according to a May 18 candidate report disclosure. However, the candidate claimed in an interview roughly one week after she filed her disclosure that Airbnb’s Montana presence makes it difficult for “families [to] get a fair shot at owning and renting a home.”

“We’ve all seen the proliferation of Airbnb, short-term rentals, and home purchases by companies in the past few years,” Tranel on May 23 told the Daily Inter Lake, a Montana publication. “Demand in Montana is rising because people are moving here, it should not be rising because investors view it as a way to make a profit.”

“Congress should eliminate tax incentives investors get by buying up homes that could be purchased by families that live and work here in Montana,” she added.

Airbnb and short-term rentals have contributed to surging housing prices in Montana, since homes that could be long-term options for residents are being handed to travelers for the short-term, researchers said in a University of Montana study. A typical home in Montana currently costs roughly $456,000, which is over 22% more than in 2021, according to Zillow’s home values index.

A spokesperson for Tranel’s campaign told the Daily Caller News Foundation she is “focused on doing the people’s work, which includes addressing the housing affordability crisis facing Western Montana.”

“Tranel is the only candidate in this race that is committed to putting her investments and retirement in a true blind trust and passing legislation to ban insider stock trading to rein in federal spending after the largest budget deficit in U.S. history under the previous administration,” said the spokesperson.

Tranel’s Airbnb holdings and prior remarks about the company were first reported on Tuesday by the Washington Free Beacon.

Airbnb stock is currently valued at over $104 per share and was worth almost $108 per share when Tranel disclosed her investment in the company. It is unclear when Tranel bought the Airbnb shares.

Tranel is facing off in November against Republican Ryan Zinke, who was secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior under former President Donald Trump between 2017 and 2019. The two are running in Montana’s 1st Congressional District, which was newly drawn after the state split into two separate districts and leans “likely Republican,” according to Politico.

“The issue isn’t that Monica is invested in a San Francisco company, it’s that she’s a hypocrite and a liar—telling Montanans one thing and secretly doing another,” Heather Swift, the campaign manager for Zinke, told the Free Beacon.

Zinke’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment nor did Airbnb.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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