Progressives slam Congress’ stock trading ban ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Government ethics watchdogs reacted angrily on Thursday after U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley said a bill to ban members of Congress from trading stocks would be shelved until after the mid-elections. – November mandate.

“It’s the product of the lack of new blood at the top.”

Merkley – an Oregon Democrat who led the bill and who last Wednesday said that “we have to do it” – says Initiated Thursday that he “can’t wait to cross the finish line, but that won’t happen before the election.”

“I feel like we’ve made very big strides towards a consensus bill,” he added. “But there are plenty of other bills and judicial appointments pending for the rest of the few days we have left here.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a strong proponent of the ban, Told Initiated‘s Bryan Metzger on Thursday that his colleagues’ punt “further erodes the credibility of this body.”

The Citizens’ Advocacy Group for Accountability and Ethics in Washington (CREW) tweeted that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) “has promised to prioritize putting in place a ban on trading in congressional stocks before the election.”

“Today’s news that the Senate will not consider a bill until after the election is deeply disappointing,” CREW added. “But it’s not the end of the fight.”

Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), who called the “absolutely unacceptable” delay—tweeted, “Here’s a perfect example of why it’s important to focus on what elected officials do between elections.”

“It’s not enough that they talk about a good game,” she added. “When they are in power, they also have to do the right thing.”

Merkley is part of a task force launched by Schumer in February to draft a consensus bill that had a chance of passing the equally divided upper house.

Walter Shaub, senior ethics researcher at POGO, said Initiated that “I’m not surprised to hear that’s Senator Merkley’s position. He took over the task force and slowed this thing down for 223 days. It’s a tragic missed opportunity and a shameful failure. “

In a thread on Twitter, Shaub said he was “fed up with lawmakers unwilling or unable to enact the most obvious ethical reforms in times of crisis, as our institutions crumble to dust, after we barely survived four years of the most corrupt president in history, and public trust in government is disintegrating.”

Progressives have long argued that the STOCK Act of 2012 – the current law that allows members of Congress to buy and sell stocks, bonds and other financial instruments as long as they refrain from any insider and abide by the rules of disclosure – is full of loopholes and is frequently violated.

A race Initiated investigation counts 72 members of Congress who have violated the STOCK Act in recent years. A New York Times A survey released earlier this week found nearly 100 U.S. lawmakers reported deals at companies influenced by their committees.

Merkley’s announcement came the day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said lower house lawmakers could vote on a version of the trade ban later this month. -this. Pelosi has come under fire after revelations that her husband traded up to $81 million in assets between 2019 and 2021, including in numerous companies subject to congressional scrutiny.

“Watch for the House version of the ban on congressional actions which will be riddled with loopholes,” Shaub predicted on Twitter. “I promise to walk you through each of them once they FINALLY release the text of this mysterious bill.”

Another bipartisan measure introduced in February by Warren and Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) along with Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) would, if passed, ban lawmakers Americans and their spouses from owning or trading in stocks.

“It’s the toughest bill that’s ever come before Congress,” Warren said. said on MSNBC Thursday. “No buying, no selling, no stock ownership, period…for members or members’ spouses.”

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