- A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill that would ban Congress members from trading individual stocks.
- Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Republican Matt Gaetz co-sponsored the bill, which would also limit spouses of congressional members from trading.
- Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul Pelosi has long been scrutinized for his extensive history of trading stocks.
A rare show of bipartisanship was on display in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday as Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Republican Matt Gaetz introduced a bill that would ban Congressional lawmakers from trading stocks.
The Bipartisan Restoring Faith in Government Act would prohibit Congress members and their spouses and any dependents from trading individual stocks. The bill was co-sponsored by AOC and Gaetz, as well as US House representatives Brian Fitzpatrick and Raja Krishnamoorthi.
Lawmakers trading stocks has come under intensifying scrutiny in recent years as some Congress members have made timely trades in certain stocks that they may have had direct influence over or access to sensitive information as a result of the various committees they serve on.
Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul Pelosi have long been scrutinized for the extensive stock trading done by Paul.
“We must move forward on issues that unite us, including our firm belief that trust in government must be restored, and that Members of Congress, including their dependents, must be prohibited from trading in stocks while they are serving in Congress and have access to sensitive, inside information,” Fitzpatrick said in a joint statement.
Some trades that raised eyebrows in recent years include former Senator Richard Burr selling as much as $1.7 million in stock on February 13, 2020 after he was briefed on the threat of the COVID-19 virus. More recently, some members sold bank stocks during the initial collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March.
“The ability to individually trade stock erodes the public’s trust in government. When Members have access to classified information, we should not be trading in the stock market on it. It’s really that simple,” AOC said in the statement.
The bill would prevent Congressional lawmakers and their spouses and dependents from trading individual stocks. If the bill passed, they would have 90 days to either divest the stocks or place the assets in a qualified blind trust in which they’d have no control over what stocks are bought or sold in the account.
Instead of owning individual stocks, Congress members would be allowed to buy and sell baskets of stocks via mutual funds or ETFs, as well as Treasury securities.
“Members of Congress are spending their time trading futures instead of securing the future of our fellow Americans. We cannot allow the Swamp to prioritize investing in stocks over investing in our country. As long as concerns about insider trading hang over the legislative process, Congress will never regain the trust of the American people,” Gaetz said in the statement.