House to introduce stock trading ban in Congress

Democrats in the House of Representatives could soon introduce legislation banning members of Congress, senior executives and potentially their spouses from buying, selling or trading stocks, according to a Punchbowl News report.


What do you want to know

  • Democrats in the House of Representatives could soon introduce legislation banning members of Congress, senior executives and potentially their spouses from buying, selling or trading stocks, according to a Punchbowl News report.
  • A spokesperson for the House Administration Committee confirmed to Spectrum News that the legislation could be introduced “as soon as next week”, and the details reported by Punchbowl and other outlets are “components” of what the final legislation will likely include.
  • A host of other proposals being advanced in both the House and Senate potentially complicate the bill’s passage through Congress, which include varying degrees of restrictions on lawmakers, staff, spouses and – in some cases – dependents.
  • The legislation, if introduced in the coming weeks, would come shortly before lawmakers leave for the August recess, leaving limited time for a vote before the November midterms.

According to the outlet, the framework legislation would require lawmakers, staff and their spouses to either place their assets in a blind trust or divest them altogether; Punchbowl reports that the legislation would not prohibit members or others from owning mutual funds.

House Administration Committee Chairwoman Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, told the outlet that Democrats are “almost ready to move on.” A spokesperson for the committee confirmed to Spectrum News that the legislation could be introduced “as soon as next week”, and the details reported by Punchbowl and other outlets are “components” of what the final legislation is likely to include.

The legislation, if introduced in the coming weeks, would come shortly before lawmakers leave for the August recess, leaving limited time for a vote before the November midterms.

A host of other proposals being advanced in both the House and Senate potentially complicate the bill’s passage through Congress, which include varying degrees of restrictions on lawmakers, staff, spouses and – in some cases – dependents.

One dates back to last January, when Reps. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., and Chip Roy, R-Texas, introduced the Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust in Congress Act — or TRUST in Congress Act, for short. The bill, whose other 21 cosponsors include five Republicans and 16 Democrats, would require lawmakers, their spouses and dependent children to place certain assets in blind trusts, among other provisions.

A separate bill was introduced in the House just two months later by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., with similar bipartisan support: Its 25 cosponsors range from vocal progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN. Y., to ultra -Conservative Representative Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.

The law prohibiting adversarial trade would not extend, like the TRUST in Congress Act, to lawmakers’ family members. Instead, it would prohibit members of Congress and certain employees from buying or selling futures contracts, or entering into a transaction that would create a “net short position in any security.”

At least two such bills were introduced in the Senate last January by Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., and Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., though the language differs slightly between the two proposals.

It remains unclear exactly what provisions will be included in Lofgren’s anticipated proposal. But the passage of any bill largely depends on party leadership, which means House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., or Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. , should take action on the matter.

Pelosi, who balked last year at the suggestion that lawmakers and their spouses should be banned from selling or buying stocks, has since warmed to the idea — likely due to growing pressure from both political parties.

“I said to the House administration committee, look at all the bills that come in and see which ones — where the support is in our caucus,” Pelosi told reporters at a press conference in January. , later adding, “I just don’t join it, but if the members want to, I’m okay with it.

Pelosi has come under increasing criticism for her stance on stock trading, especially in light of a sweeping Business Insider investigation last year that found dozens of lawmakers and top executives repeatedly violated a anti-insider law known as the STOCK Act.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act, was signed into law by then-President Barack Obama in 2012. The law is intended, in part, to “prohibit members of Congress and congressional employees from ‘use non-public information derived from their positions for personal gain’, and passed both the House and Senate on a largely bipartisan basis.

The bill itself does not prohibit members of Congress from trading in stocks, but does require certain government officials — such as lawmakers, the president and vice president, and other executive and legislative employees — to report any stock market transaction within 45 days of the transaction.

More recently, Pelosi raised eyebrows for a Tuesday filing — which came a day before the Senate approved legislation to boost domestic manufacturing of semiconductor chips — that her husband, Paul Pelosi, sold $5 million worth of Nvidia stock, one of the biggest chips in the country. -manufacturers. The documents noted, however, that the sale resulted in a loss of $341,365.

Still, Republicans have taken aim at the stock market, with House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., suggesting Pelosi may have a conflict of interest.

“Look, I think the Speaker of the House has a greater determination of what happens to the prosecution, what comes out of the committee,” McCarthy told reporters on Friday, after news broke of the potential ban on shares. “And her husband didn’t just trade stocks, he traded options. I think what her husband did was wrong.

Pelosi’s office pushed back on those claims.

“As always, he is not discussing these matters with the President until transactions have been completed and required disclosures are prepared and filed,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told The Hill. “Mr. Pelosi decided to sell the shares at a loss rather than allow the misinformation in the press about this trade to continue.

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