House lawmakers demand Pelosi, McCarthy 'swiftly' hold vote on bills to ban Congress from trading stocks
“Members of Congress should not be allowed to own or trade individual stocks," they wrote.
A group of more than two dozen lawmakers are urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to "swiftly" hold a vote on legislation that would ban members of Congress from owning or trading stocks, Fox News has learned.
Fox News Digital obtained a letter signed by 27 members of Congress—25 House Democrats and 2 House Republicans—urging House leadership to hold a vote on the "Ban Conflicted Trading Act" or the "TRUST in Congress act."
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"This common-sense, bipartisan legislation is unfortunately necessary in light of recent misconduct, and is supported by Americans across the political spectrum," they wrote.
In 2012, Congress passed the STOCK Act, the lawmakers wrote, which they said was an attempt to "prevent members of Congress from using congressional knowledge to their advantage in stock trading."
"However, one recent investigation found that the STOCK Act had been violated hundreds of times just since 2020," they wrote. "It’ clear the current rules are not working."
The lawmakers also noted that in 2020, senators from both parties "made significant stock ales after receiving closed briefings on COVID-19 but before the pandemic was fully understood by the public and impacting the market."
The lawmakers were referring to investments made by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and then-Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., after a coronavirus briefing.
The trades were reviewed in 2020 after concerns that they used inside information to benefit their stock portfolios, they could have violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, also known as the STOCK Act, passed in 2012, which makes it illegal for members of Congress to engage in insider trading.
"While those senators apparently did not violate the letter of the law, as the Department of Justice has closed its investigations of these trades, that outcome demonstrates how shamefully narrow the current law is," they wrote.
"There is no reason that members of Congress need to be allowed to trade in stocks when we should be focused on doing our jobs and serving our constituents," they wrote, adding that, "perhaps this means some of our colleagues will miss out on lucrative investment opportunities."
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"We don’t care," they wrote. "We came to Congress to serve our country, not turn a quick buck."
The lawmakers noted that Americans "across the political spectrum support banning members of Congress from trading stocks."
"At a time when public confidence in Congress is low, holding ourselves to this standard would be an important step to earn back their trust," they wrote.
At this point, there are multiple bipartisan bills to ban members of Congress from owning or trading stocks circulating in the House of Representatives. The bipartisan group of lawmakers slammed Pelosi and McCarthy for "handwringing over which bill to advance" saying it should be "no excuse for stalling a House floor vote on this issue."
"We view the emergence of multiple bipartisan bills on this issue as a sign of broad rank-and-file support for it across Congress," they wrote. "Good-faith differences of opinion between members on the details of this legislation can be resolved through an amendment process."
"While there are many difficult questions facing Congress, this is an easy one," they continued. "Members of Congress should not be allowed to own or trade individual stocks."
They added: "Let’s get this done."
The letter was signed by Democratic Reps. Jared Golden, Rashida Tlaib, Mark Pocan, Tom Malinowski, Susan Wild, Conor Lamb, Katie Porter, Pramila Jayapal, Jesus Garcia, Mary Gay Scanlon, Abigal Davis Spanberger, Angie Craig, Kathleen Rice, Andy Levin, Bill Foster, Tom O’Halleran, Joe Neguse, Dean Phillips, Tim Ryan, Greg Stanton, Andy Kim, Melanie Stansbury, Ritchie Torres, Matt Cartwright, and Haley Stevens.
Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz and Brian Fitzpatrick also signed on to the letter.
The letter comes as Pelosi has faced criticism from both sides of the aisle for saying members of Congress and their spouses should be allowed to trade stock as part of a "free market economy."
Pelosi, last week, suggested that she will consider proposals banning members of Congress from trading stocks while in elective office, a sharp reversal from just a month ago when she adamantly defended the practice.
"I've said to the House Administration Committee, review all the bills that are coming in and see which ones — where the support is in our caucus," Pelosi said last week. "If members want to do that, I'm OK with that."
Meanwhile, over in the Senate, two separate bills were introduced last week that would ban stock trading by members of Congress and their spouses. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., introduced different versions of similar legislation.
Hawley's version is titled, "Banning Insider Trading in Congress Act," and Ossoff's is called the "Ban Congressional Stock Trading Act."
Lawmakers' spouses are currently allowed to trade in companies or industries that their partner may help regulate. But under the STOCK Act, which was passed in 2012, members of Congress and their families are forbidden to profit from inside information, and lawmakers are also required to report stock trades to Congress within 45 days.
Meanwhile, President Biden will "let members of Congress" determine whether they should be allowed to trade stocks, amid scrutiny of lawmakers’ financial trades, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week.
Psaki was asked whether the president believes members of Congress and their spouses should be prohibited from trading stocks.
Biden is prohibited from trading stocks while serving as president.
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"The president didn’t trade individual stocks when he was a senator," Psaki said. "That is how we approach things. We also believe that everyone should be held to the highest standard."
She added: "But he’ll let members of the leadership in Congress and members of Congress determine what the rules should be."