Culpeper Star-Exponent: ‘Reform needs to be made now’—stock trading ban for Congress sought, again

CULPEPER STAR-EXPONENT, ALLISON BROPHY-CHAMPION

Federal legislators, led by U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, are again attempting to enact a law banning members of Congress, their spouses and dependent children from stock trading.

Nearly three dozen more members of Congress have signed on, with reintroduction last week, of the Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust (TRUST) in Congress Act.

Spanberger, D-7th, first partnered legislation in 2020 with Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas Republican. It was reintroduced in 2021 and the legislators called for a vote on TRUST last year, but none was taken by then Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Back in the spotlight for 2023, the measure would require putting certain investment assets into a qualified blind trust during their entire tenure in Congress, effectively banning them from trading individual stocks.

Spanberger said it would create a firewall between members and their investments, making sure they cannot use their positions in the U.S. House or Senate to unethically inform investment decisions, influence the value of existing investments, or contribute to greater distrust by the American people.

A vote on the act is long overdue, said the congresswoman last week.

“Last Congress, we saw the TRUST in Congress Act receive 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 a reform needs to be made now,” said Spanberger.

Original cosponsors of the TRUST Act include U.S. Reps. Scott Perry (R-PA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Nikema Williams (D-GA), Dean Phillips (D-MN), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Angie Craig (D-MN), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Michael Cloud (R-TX), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO); Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Haley Stevens (D-MI), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Jason Crow (D-CO), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA), Young Kim (R-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Katie Porter (D-CA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Jared Golden (D-ME), Susan Wild (D-PA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Grace Meng (D-NY), Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL).

“Members of Congress hold privileged positions of power and access to classified information, and should not be able buy, sell and trade individual stocks during their time of service,” said Andrew Lautz, Director of Federal Policy, National Taxpayers Union.

It erodes the public’s trust and creates the appearance of corruption, something worth guarding against as much as corruption itself, added Nick Penniman, CEO of Issue One.

“The TRUST in Congress Act is a commonsense solution that has received strong bipartisan support, and it’s time for our leaders to act and pass this bill into law,” he said in a statement.

“Based on how frequently and blatantly the 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act is violated by members of Congress, it is obvious the current situation is not working,” said Kedric Payne, Vice President of Campaign Legal Center.

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