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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's side hustle: earning cash as a California winery intern


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As a US senator, Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat of Arizona, earns $174,000 a year, funded by American taxpayers.

But Sinema recently worked a side hustle. As a California winery intern.

A new federal financial disclosure indicates Sinema earned $1,117.40 in wages last year from Three Sticks Winery in Sonoma, California.

"Kyrsten worked harvest for Three Sticks Winery, and in accordance with California law, was paid an entry level harvest rate," a Sinema representative, Hannah Hurley, told Insider in an email. Hurley added that the Senate Ethics Committee preapproved Sinema's work.

Three Stick Winery describes its harvest internship as a two-week job for people "passionate about wine, detail-oriented, excited to work hard, and have a positive attitude."

It says interns "will assist in all facets of harvest work including cleaning and sanitizing equipment, sorting fruit, punchdowns, making basic additions and managing fermentations according to winemaker instructions, barrel work, and other winery-related tasks."

Also: "Forklift experience is a plus."

A winery spokesperson, Maral Papakhian, said Sinema enthusiastically completed her internship and did "a lot of manual labor."

Added the winemaker Ryan Prichard: "Kyrsten was extremely hardworking and was a fantastic part of our team."

Read more: Rep. Seth Moulton bankrolls ring maker

Last year, the California minimum wage was $12 an hour for employers with 25 employees or fewer and $13 an hour for employers with 26 or more employees. Sinema turned heads in March when she voted with a dramatic thumbs-down gesture against raising the federal minimum wage to $15.

Hurley did not answer a question about what inspired Sinema to obtain a winery internship or whether the senator had designs on one day entering the viticulture industry. In 2019, Sinema did work to secure tax breaks for the beer, wine, and distilled-spirits industries.

Sinema has at least one other tie to her temporary employer: an August 2020 fundraising invitation from Sinema's leadership political action committee listed Three Sticks Winery as one of the stops on a "Weekend of Wine and Food" tour of California wineries.

Sinema's Getting Stuff Done PAC asked individuals and political-action-committee representatives for a $5,000 contribution to participate.

Pete Sessions

Pete Sessions likes Big Tech now

Rep. Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, purchased up to $50,000 in Amazon.com stock on May 4 and up to $15,000 in Microsoft on May 3.

But in November, Sessions wasn't so keen on Big Tech companies.

"Did big tech and the media manipulate this election?" Sessions wrote in a Facebook post that linked to a video of the Fox News host Tucker Carlson posted on Twitter by Brandon Straka, who commented: "We are on the brink of a massive revolution."

Who's Straka? He's best known for being a vocal Trump supporter whom the police arrested in connection to the US Capitol riot on January 6.

Sessions' wife, Karen Sessions, also bought up to $15,000 in Coca-Cola stock on April 19.

Bottles of Coca Cola

Give Lloyd Doggett a Coke

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat, purchased up to $15,000 worth of Coca-Cola Company shares on April 5.

Doggett's stock purchase came on the same day when former President Donald Trump called on supporters to boycott Coca-Cola for the company's public opposition to a Georgia voting law it argued would "diminish or deter access to voting." Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky went on to call for a Coca-Cola boycott on April 6.

Did Doggett buy Coca-Cola in some sort of reverse "own the libs" move?

No, it was a coincidence, said the spokesperson Kate Stotesbery.

"This was an automatic dividend reinvestment on one of the few individual stocks that he owns," Stotesbery told Insider.

Holding Coca-Cola stock isn't an exclusively Democratic thing.

For example, Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a Wyoming Republican, recently reported owning up to $15,000 in Coca-Cola shares, too.

gamestop store

Poking a GameStop bear

Democratic Rep. Kathy Manning's husband, Randall Kaplan, made $1 million to $2 million worth of hedge fund investments in early March.

Half of the investment is with Melvin Capital LP, the hedge fund that lost its lunch earlier this year betting against GameStop in the midst of the "short squeeze" fiasco, during which retail investors made frenzied purchases of stocks unpopular with Wall Street.

Manning is a freshman representative from North Carolina.

Bill Hagerty tests his luck

On April 20, Sen. Bill Hagerty, a Tennessee Republican, sold up to $15,000 worth of his stock in Natera Inc., which specializes in health screenings and DNA testing.

Natera's share price has more than tripled during the past year but has dipped slightly since Hagerty sold his shares.

Punting financial disclosures

Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican; Sen. Brian Schatz, a Hawaii Democrat, and Paul each requested — and received — 90-day extensions for filing their annual personal financial disclosures, which are generally due May 17.

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