Punchbowl News: New: Spanberger, Roy re-up efforts to ban congressional stock trading

PUNCHBOWL NEWS, MAX COHEN AND JAKE SHERMAN

Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Chip Roy (R-Texas) are re-upping their bill to effectively ban members of Congress from trading stocks, kickstarting an effort that captured headlines last year but failed to receive a floor vote.

The legislation, labeled the Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust (TRUST) in Congress Act, would require members, spouses and dependents to place some investment assets into a qualified blind trust.

Spanberger and Roy’s bill has 35 additional cosponsors that range from right-wing members such as Reps. Scott Perry (Pa.) and Matt Gaetz (Fla.) to Democrats like Reps. Adam Schiff (Calif.) and Jerry Nadler (N.Y.). The tally is by far the most cosponsors the legislation has received at the start of a Congress. By the end of the 117th Congress, the TRUST in Congress Act amassed 75 cosponsors.

The push to ban lawmakers from buying and selling stocks fizzled out at the end of last year, despite endorsements from then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. While Pelosi ended up switching her position to supporting a ban on members of Congress from trading stocks, the legislation never came up for a House vote.

Congressional stock trading rose to national consciousness during the initial days of the Covid-19 pandemic when senators’ stock plays attracted FBI attention. A 2021 investigation by Insider found many members had run afoul of stock trading disclosure rules required by the STOCK Act.

During a pre-election interview in October, McCarthy said if he became speaker, he would not “purchase any individual stocks.” McCarthy did not own any individual stocks as of last May.

Here’s more McCarthy from October, speaking broadly about what he planned to do on stock trading by members:

“I think there’s a way that we could do something that brings greater integrity to the House. … I’ve listened to a couple of different people and [Arkansas Rep.] French Hill had some ideas and some others have other ways to handle it. … I want to be thoughtful. … So I’ve got a number of people looking at a couple of things. But I think we’ll take this up.”

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