NEWSWEEK, JAKE THOMAS
Democratic Representative Abigail Spanberger has accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of not acting in “good faith” on legislation that would ban members of Congress from trading stocks while in office.
Spanberger said during a Wednesday appearance on Fox News that Pelosi has deliberately stalled bipartisan legislation prohibiting lawmakers from trading individual stocks. The criticism against Pelosi over her reluctance to embrace a ban on congressional stock trading is the latest from Spanberger, who faces a competitive reelection race in Virginia.
Spanberger, along with Republican Representative Chip Roy, sponsored the Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust (TRUST) in Congress Act in 2020. The bill required members of Congress, along with their spouses and children, to put investments into blind trusts or keep their money in mutual funds.
Abigail Spanberger, a Democratic representative from Virginia, answers questions after touring the IBEW Local 26 training facility September 6, 2022 in Manassas, Virginia. Spanberger again clashed with Speaker Nancy Pelosi over a bill restricting members of Congress from selling stock.
Bret Baier, host of Fox News’ Special Report, asked Spanberger about the failure of the bill and Pelosi’s statement that she was working on improved legislation.
“The American people are mad about it,” replied Spanberger.
Despite her legislation having over 70 co-sponsors from both parties, she said Pelosi “employed stall tactic after stall tactic in order to keep delaying what’s potentially a vote on any bill that would ban members of Congress from buying and selling stocks.”
Pelosi earlier this year indicated she was open to restrictions on members of Congress buying and selling individual stocks, reversing her previous position. Members of Congress currently must publicly disclose stock trades.
A review of disclosures by Newsweek showed that in 2021 Pelosi and her husband, venture capitalist Paul Pelosi, purchased between almost $10 million to nearly $32 million worth of stocks.
Critics say current requirements allow for conflicts of interest, allowing members of Congress to use their access to information to buy and sell stocks. The practice has come under scrutiny with recent investigations from The New York Times and Insider.
“With members of Congress from both parties flouting basic financial conflict of interest laws, and appearing to personally profit off their positions of public trust, Americans are understandably questioning whether their government works on their behalf,” Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said in a September letter to Congress.
Pelosi’s office referred Newsweek to the speaker’s remarks during her September 30 press briefing. During the briefing, Pelosi addressed an earlier press release from Spanberger that accused the speaker of engineering a stock trading bill that was designed to fail.
Pelosi responded by telling reporters that the revised legislation contained Spanberger’s bill as well as other improvements, and that she was working to get votes for it.
“And they took her bill, added others that made the bill stronger, as a matter a fact,” said Pelosi. “So this is an interesting press release, but it’s more important to write a bill.”
Spanberger, who flipped a Virginia House district that voted for Trump in 2018, has had a frosty relationship with Pelosi, refusing to vote for her as speaker.
She told Fox News that she would continue to not support Pelosi, saying the speaker had put forward a bill that “wasn’t a good faith effort.” Facing a tough reelection, Spanberger said she hears about the issue in her district and won’t give up trying to get her bill passed.
“It’s basic stuff we can take forward to demonstrate that we are deserving of the trust of the American people,” she said.