The move to file a stock-trading ban comes amid growing bipartisan support. More than two dozen representatives have expressed interest in backing similar legislation in the House, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., despite silence from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
At a mid-December press conference, Pelosi was asked if she had any “reaction” to 49 members of Congress violating the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (or STOCK Act) and if members of Congress should be banned from trading individual stocks while serving.
A frazzled Pelosi then took a big drink of water, responding: “No to the second . We have a responsibility to report on the stock, but I’m not familiar with that five-month review, but if people aren’t reporting, they should be. We are a free-market economy; they should be able to participate in that.”
Reacting to Pelosi’s comment, Walter Shaub, former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, tweeted: “It’s a ridiculous comment! She might as well have said ‘let them eat cake.’ Sure, it’s a free-market economy. But your average schmuck doesn’t get confidential briefings from government experts chock full of nonpublic information directly related to the price of stocks.”
But as Axios reports, “Warren and Daines have reached a deal on a bill banning lawmakers and their spouses from owning and trading individual stocks, people familiar with the conversations” said.
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Essentially, such legislation would allow members of Congres to place their stocks in a blind trust.
Other members of Congress have filed similar legislation. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., filed his own stock-banning legislation after talks with Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., who also introduced similar legislation, fizzled out.
In addition, both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have appeared to show interest in supporting, in a general sense, stock-banning legislation.
The movement of stock banning bills comes in light of the impotent STOCK Act, which became law in 2012.
According to Business Insider, 52 members of Congress have been reported so far as violating the STOCK Act and would face the small fine of $200 or could have it “waived by House or Senate ethics officials.”