Momentum builds to ban lawmakers from trading stocks

Some Progressive Democrats and MAGA Republicans are uniting on a proposal to ban sitting lawmakers from negotiating individual stocks, though leaders are unlikely to put the bill to a vote.

Why is this important: Members of Congress have great power to move stock prices and great financial incentives to do so.

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  • “One line in a bill in Congress can be worth millions and millions of dollars,” said former Rep. Brian Baird (D-Ore.) 60 minutes in 2011.

  • Baird spent years defending the Stock Act, which prevented lawmakers from trading inside information and increased financial disclosures. It became law in 2012, after being passed on a bipartisan basis, but was later watered down and is rarely enforced.

Driving the news: Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) Plans to introduce an ethics bill that would prohibit lawmakers, their spouses, and dependent children from negotiating individual stocks during their tenure, not just if they have any inside information.

  • Ossoff is in talks with potential Republican co-sponsors, a Democrat told TBEN, without confirming specific candidates.

  • Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) Tuesday tweeted his support for a trade ban, though it’s unclear whether he would approve of the inclusion of spouses and family members (who are included in Ossoff’s tougher bill). Hawley’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

  • Another to watch is Senator John Hoeven (RN.D.), the only Republican senator who has said he has used a blind qualifying trust for his personal investments.

There in the house Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) Is interested in legislation to limit or prohibit lawmakers from negotiating stocks if the GOP takes control of the House, according to Punchbowl News. Such a bill already exists, with more than twenty co-sponsors.

  • Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) – whose husband Paul Pelosi recently bought millions of dollars in tech stocks – has refused to back a ban on market activity by lawmakers .

  • “We are a free market economy,” she told reporters last month. “[Lawmakers] should be able to participate. “

Candidates for the Senate from both parties jumped on the ban train. Among them are Democrats Tom Nelson (Wisc.) And John Fetterman (Pennsylvania), who both approved Ossoff’s proposal this week, and Republican Blake Masters (Arizona).

  • “Democrats and Republicans are benefiting from it and it is wrong,” Nelson told TBEN. “They don’t need to negotiate like Gordon Gekko or Bud TBEN. Just get hold of mutual funds and CDs like the rest of us. How difficult can it be? “

The bottom line: The unusual coalition behind the most recent effort to prevent lawmakers from trading in stocks may not immediately translate into law, but it is pushing Congress to address one of the most important financial disputes. blatant and most persistent in Washington.

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Garland K. Long