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 February 28, 2023

Bipartisan support for stock trading ban on lawmakers and their spouses gaining steam

A push to bar stock trading for lawmakers and their spouses while serving in Congress has strong bipartisan support, Conservative Brief reported. The legislation was likely prompted by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul Pelosi, who has made off with a mint through suspiciously-timed trades.

The bill, called the TRUST in Congress Act, was crafted by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA). They teamed up with Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) and nearly three dozen of their colleagues amid growing concerns about the fairness of allowing the people who make policy -- and their families -- to buy and sell individual stocks for a profit.

Those pushing the law suggest putting their holdings into a blind trust while in office would alleviate any impropriety or even the appearance of it. "We are long overdue for a vote on legislation to ban Members of Congress and their spouses from trading individual stocks," Spanberger said.

"Last Congress, we saw the TRUST in Congress Act receives the most bipartisan support of any effort to do so. We saw tremendous momentum, we saw growing support in our districts, and we saw growing recognition across the political spectrum that such reform needs to be made now," the Virginia Democrat went on.

"I’ve been proud to lead the charge on this issue, and I want to thank my colleague Congressman Roy for his continued partnership as we reduce potential conflicts of interest in the halls of the U.S. Capitol," Spanberger added. "Our TRUST in Congress Act would demonstrate that lawmakers are focused on serving the interests of the American people — not their own stock portfolios," Spanberger wrote.

Using insider information to make money on the stock market is illegal, even for members of Congress. However, the gray area involving spouses and dependent children is what will be addressed through the new legislation.

"While Congress has no prosecutorial authority, we can remove even the appearance of a conflict by banning members from trading stocks," Schiff said about the proposal. "I’m proud to again introduce with my colleagues the TRUST in Congress Act to ban Members and their families from trading individual stocks.”

Although this would apply to all lawmakers, the issue came to a head with the Pelosis. The California Democrat and her husband seemed to have a knack for picking winning stocks around the time government action was to change a given industry.

For instance, Nancy Pelosi decided it was time to sell Google stock just weeks before government investigations on its parent company were announced. However, the most egregious example came from her venture-capitalist husband.

Last February, Paul Pelosi made a winning pick by acquiring shares of technology company Nvidia. Once again, his timing was impeccable as it was just before a vote on legislation that would mean a $52 billion government investment.

Now it seems lawmakers are ready to admit enough is enough in the House as well as the Senate. Last month, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced the aptly named PELOSI Act, which stands for the Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments Act.

This would mean no members of congress or their spouses could trade or hold individual stock while in office. "As members of Congress, both Senators and Representatives are tasked with providing oversight of the same companies they invest in, yet they continually buy and sell stocks, outperforming the market time and again," Hawley said.

"While Wall Street and Big Tech work hand-in-hand with elected officials to enrich each other, hard-working Americans pay the price," he added. "The solution is clear: we must immediately and permanently ban all members of Congress from trading stocks," Hawley said. Members of Congress and their spouses would have six months to do something with individual stocks or face penalties.

The problem of lawmakers getting rich while supposedly serving the public in Washington, D.C. is a perennial one. However, it seems the Pelosis have made a career of it, and Congress is ready to do something about it.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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