Capitol Wives Gang Up on Stock Market


Tricia Lott says her husband may not take the Meager Means Investment Club seriously, but she may be laughing all the way to the bank.

The wife of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) is president of a group of 16 women, including wives of several congressmen and political figures, who meet once a month to sip coffee, peruse stock tables and make investments.

“He calls us ‘the screaming meemies’ because we get on the phone and say, ‘Did you see what so-and-so stock did?’ He thinks it’s so funny,” she said in a telephone interview from her home in Washington, D.C.


The club also includes Joanne Kemp, the wife of former GOP vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp; Kate Romero, wife of Puerto Rico’s Democratic Resident Commissioner Carlos A. Romero-Barcelo; Lois Breaux, wife of Sen. John Breaux (D-La.); Mary Clement, wife of Rep. Bob Clement (D-Tenn.); and Betty Ann Tanner, wife of Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.).

“We called it Meager Means, because that’s us. We’ve got very meager means to invest,” Tricia Lott said.

The women are quick to say that their husbands have nothing to do with their stock choices and party affiliation isn’t a factor in joining.

“We never discuss politics, ever,” Mary Clement said.

The club was founded nearly two years ago as a general partnership after the women read a book about the Beardstown Ladies, a group of women in Illinois whose investment club has outperformed most Wall Street experts.

Members of the Meager Means Club plunk down $1,000 to join and spend $50 a month on stocks, which are carefully selected.

“I’ve had to sit on my hands to keep from owning Ralph Lauren,” Lott said of the fashion company that began trading shares the other day. “They have no earnings, and we have to wait to see how they do.”


Some of the women read Investor’s Business Daily and the Wall Street Journal nearly every day and Forbes and Barron’s regularly.

“I’d never read a business section in my life. It bored me to tears,” Lott said. “Now I’m hooked.”

The club has a three-member stock-selection committee, which researches companies at the Library of Congress, checking analytical newsletters and past earnings. Lott said she doesn’t know the value of the group’s portfolio because each member keeps track of just a few stocks.

The wives usually meet at the Congressional Club, founded in 1914 for lawmakers’ spouses. The meetings often begin with a speaker from a brokerage firm, a newspaper business section or another investment club. Over coffee, they get down to work, voting on the stocks to buy.

Clement said her first choice, ICC Technologies, has lost money, but she’s hoping it will improve.

“I’ve got to redeem myself,” she said, laughing.