Rep. Dean Phillips sued for wage theft, but makes big bucks stock trading

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips (DFL-3rd CD) and his brother are being sued by a former employee for failure to pay overtime:

A former manager has sued Penny’s Coffee, U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips and his brother, saying they failed to pay her overtime when she worked more than 40 hours a week.

The west-Metro Congressman was among the co-founders of this small, now defunct coffee shop chain. Luckily for Phillips, his fortune comes from liquor, not coffee.

Phillips Distilling Company was founded by Phillips’ adoptive father, and the future congressmen served as president and CEO of the distillery from 2000 to 2012.

Estimates of Phillips’ considerable wealth vary widely, from $25 million to $64 million, to $123 million. While in Congress, Phillips has been able to augment his meager annual salary of $174,000 with some adept stock market trading.

For his part, Phillips says that his wealth is in a blind trust. The frequency of trading by Phillips (or on his behalf) ranks him as the sixth most frequent trader among congressional Democrats.

The website Unusual Whales publishes an annual report of congressional stock trading. Members of Congress have established a remarkable track record of beating the market in their individual stock trading. In their latest report, Unusual Whales cites two Phillips trades from 2020 as particularly lucrative, with both up nearly 400 percent to date.

After complaints were made over his 2020 stock trading, Phillips acted to create the blind trust in 2021.

Phillips entered Congress as a wealthy man. One of the enduring mysteries of life is how relatively poor politicians enter Congress, and on an annual salary of $174,000, quickly become multimillionaires.