Nancy Pelosi Asked To Support Stock Ban For Congress Members

( Various watchdog and advocacy groups are calling on leadership in the House of Representatives to support proposed legislation that would ban all Congress members from participating in individual stock trades.
The bill would also ban the dependent children and spouses of Congress members from doing so.
This coalition sent a letter recently to Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader; Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House; Rodney Davis, the ranking member of the Committee on House Administration; and Zoe Lofgren, chairwoman of the Committee on House Administration.
In it, they wrote:
“Our country is at an inflection point: the reports of Members’ suspicious stock trades at the beginning of the pandemic and the routine and bipartisan failures to comply with the STOCK Act have severely harmed public confidence in Congress.”
The STOCK Act, formally known as the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, requires all members of Congress to report any individual stock trades that they, their spouses or dependent children make within 30 days of doing so.
However, members of Congress from both sides of the political aisle routinely don’t comply with the law. Their punishments are relatively minor, too, oftentimes just a small fine.
The coalition also wrote that violations of the STOCK Act in the meantime should result in clear and written consequences.
The coalition is made up of 19 groups and includes Public Citizen, the Revolving Door Project, Democracy21, and the Center for Biological Diversity.
On April 7, a hearing is set in the Committee on House Administration, at which the merits of a ban on stock trading will be heard. There are many witnesses that are scheduled to be called that day to testify.
Part of the reason impetus behind this letter — and the committee’s upcoming hearing — is a reported published by Business Insider called “Conflicted Congress.” That report said an investigation conducted by Insider found that more than 180 congressional staffers at the senior level as well as 59 lawmakers themselves have violated the STOCK Act in some way.
The current law doesn’t ban members of Congress, their spouses, dependent children and staff members from trading individual stocks. It only requires them to disclose their stock transactions within a laid out timeframe.
The issue, of course, is that these people are the ones who have plenty of insider information on the federal government — including upcoming policy announcements, new laws and more that could dramatically affect financial markets.
That’s why many people, including this coalition of watchdog and advocacy groups, are hoping that Congress will take it a step further and outright ban — or at least significantly restrict — these people from trading individual stocks.
Official proposals to do so have come out of both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, though it’s not certain at this point how likely it would be that any of the proposals would pass.
After all, the people who would have to pass the law are the same ones who are currently benefitting from not having any restrictions on their ability to trade individual stocks.