Democrat and Republican legislators are moving to curb members of Congress from trading and holding stocks while in office despite Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s insistence that members should not be financially limited.
New polling by the Convention of States Action indicates that at least 76 percent of voters in the U.S. believe that legislators and their family members should not be allowed to trade stocks during their tenure in Congress because they have an “unfair advantage.”
Only 5 percent of voters agreed with Pelosi, who recently rejected the belief that legislators and their spouses should be barred from trading.
“We are a free market economy that should be able to participate in that,” Pelosi said in a press conference in December.
Like many others in Congress, Pelosi and her husband, Paul Pelosi, a San Francisco real estate investment mogul, have poured tons of money into the stock market and profited millions off of shares largely staked in Big Tech stocks such as Alphabet, Google’s parent company. According to disclosure forms collected in the House, Pelosi has reported holding stocks in Microsoft, Roblox, Netflix, and recently sold Facebook and Apple shares.
Following the new polling, several legislators on both sides of the aisle have moved to bar representatives and senators from trading while they have a position on Capitol Hill.
Punchbowl reported on Tuesday that if Republicans win back the House majority in the 2022 midterms, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is considering legislative action limiting lawmakers from holding and trading stocks.
Sen. Jon Ossoff also plans to introduce legislation aiming to ban members of Congress from trading stocks while in office. The Georgia Democrat’s bill, which needs a Republican co-sponsor, contains even stricter provisions that “would crack down on conflicts of interest” with a ban and force members to “put their assets in blind trusts.”
The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, signed into law in 2012, already requires lawmakers to report their stock actions. A recent report from Insider, however, found that 49 legislators on both sides of the political aisle not only frequently involved themselves in stock trades but also failed to disclose their dealings in accordance with the STOCK Act in a timely manner or at all.