House Democrats may soon introduce legislation to ban members of Congress, senior employees and possibly their spouses from buying, selling or trading stocks, according to a report by Punchbowl News.
According to the outlet, the framework legislation would compel legislators, employees and their spouses to either put their assets into a blind trust, or divest completely; Punchbowl stated that the legislation would not prohibit members or others from holding joint funds.
House Governance Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said Democrats are “almost ready to move forward on this.” A commission spokesperson confirmed to Spectrum News that the legislation could be introduced “as early as next week,” and the details reported by Punchbowl and other outlets are “component(s)” of what the final legislation will likely cover.
The legislation, if presented in the next several weeks, will come shortly before lawmakers leave for their August recess, leaving limited time to vote before the midterm elections in November.
Passing the bill through Congress would likely complicate a plethora of other proposals made in both the House and the Senate, which include varying degrees of restrictions on legislators, employees, spouses and — in some cases — dependents.
One dates back to last January, when Representatives Abigail Spannberger, D-Va., and Chip Roy, Texas, introduced the Transparent Service and Trust in Congress Act — or TRUST in Congress Act, for short. The bill, which includes 21 other participants from five Republicans and 16 Democrats, would require lawmakers and their spouses and dependent children to place certain assets in blind trusts, among other provisions.
A separate bill was introduced into the House just two months later by Representative Raja Krishnamurthy, D-Illinois, with similar bipartisan support: The project’s 25 sponsors range from vocal Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DNY, to extremists. Conservative Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida.
Contradictory trade bans, like the Congressional Trust Act, will not extend to lawmakers’ family members. Instead, it would prevent members of Congress and certain employees from buying or selling any futures contracts, or from entering into a transaction that would create a “net sell position in any security.”
At least two such bills were introduced to the Senate last January by Senator John Osoff, D-Georgia, and Senator Josh Hawley, although the language differed slightly between the two proposals.
It remains unclear exactly what clauses will be included in Lofgren’s expected proposal. But passage of any bill is largely up to the party’s leadership, which means House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., or Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DNY, will need to take action on the issue.
Pelosi, who last year rejected a proposal to prevent lawmakers and their spouses from selling or buying shares, has since cautioned against the idea — likely due to mounting pressure from both political parties.
“I told the House Management Committee, look at all the bills that come in and see which ones — where there is support in our pool,” Pelosi told reporters at a January news conference, adding later, “I don’t buy it, but if The members wanted to do it, I’m OK with that.”
Pelosi has come under increasing criticism for her stance on stock trading, particularly in light of an extensive investigation last year by Business Insider that found dozens of lawmakers and senior staff members repeatedly violated an anti-insider law known as the Stock Act.
The Congressional Knowledge Circulation Cessation Act, or Stock Act, was signed into law by then-President Barack Obama in 2012. The act is intended, in part, to “prevent members of Congress and congressional officials from using non-public information derived from their official positions for the benefit of Personal”, and was passed in both the House and Senate on a broad, bipartisan basis.
The bill itself does not ban members of Congress from trading stock, but it does require certain government officials — such as lawmakers, the president, vice president, and other executive and legislative staff — to report any stock trades within 45 days of the transaction.
More recently, Pelosi raised eyebrows for her presentation on Tuesday — which came a day before the Senate approved legislation to boost domestic manufacturing of semiconductor chips — noting that her husband, Paul Pelosi, had disposed of $5 million worth of Nvidia shares, one of the largest chips in the country. Makers. However, the documents indicated that the sale incurred a loss of $341,365.
However, the stock trade has been targeted by Republicans, with Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, Representative of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, suggesting that Pelosi may have a conflict of interest.
“Look, I think the Speaker has a bigger determination on what’s coming on the ground, what’s coming out of the committee,” McCarthy told reporters Friday after news broke of a potential stock ban. “And not only was her husband trading stocks, he was trading options. I think what her husband did was wrong.”
Pelosi’s office disputed these allegations.
“As always, he does not discuss these matters with the Speaker of the House until deals have been made and the required disclosures must be prepared and submitted,” Pelosi’s spokesman, Drew Hamill, told The Hill. “Mr. Pelosi has decided to sell the stock at a loss rather than allow misinformation to continue in the press regarding this trade.”
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