Business Insider: Rep. Abigail Spanberger says the Democratic party needs ‘new leaders in the halls of Capitol Hill’ after stock trade ban stalls again

BUSINESS INSIDER, BRYAN MATZGER

Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia is calling for a new set of congressional leaders for her party after leadership delayed a potential vote this week on banning lawmakers from owning and trading stocks.

“This moment marks a failure of House leadership — and it’s yet another example of why I believe that the Democratic Party needs new leaders in the halls of Capitol Hill, as I have long made known,” the congresswoman said in a statement released Friday morning.

Late Tuesday night, the Committee on House Administration released the text of the “Combatting Financial Conflicts of Interest in Government Act,” a bill that was much broader and more far-reaching than most of the proposals put forward by other lawmakers in the last year and was written without their consultation.

Ethics experts quickly identified a major blind-trust loophole with the legislation, which was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, a close ally of Pelosi.

“Rather than bring Members of Congress together who are passionate about this issue, leadership chose to ignore these voices, push them aside, and look for new ways they could string the media and the public along — and evade public criticism,” she continued, accusing the committee of producing a “kitchen-sink package that they knew would immediately crash upon arrival, with only days remaining before the end of the legislative session and no time to fix it.”

“The package released earlier this week was designed to fail. It was written to create confusion surrounding reform efforts and complicate a straightforward reform priority,” she said, “all while creating the appearance that House Leadership wanted to take action.”

Pelosi, for her part, refused to say earlier this month when asked by Insider whether she would seek to stay in leadership in the next Congress.

Asked about Spanberger’s comments at her weekly press conference on Friday, Pelosi again declined to say whether she would remain atop the party, saying she’s “strictly focused on winning the next election.”

She then criticized the congresswoman’s statement, saying “her bill is contained in this bill. Other members had ideas to improve upon the bill.”

“So this is an interesting press release, but it’s more important to write a bill,” said Pelosi. “There are others who have spoken out against the bill.”

“Her characterization is not accurate,” she continued. “But it’s good press, because you asked the question.”

The Virginia congresswoman has not supported Pelosi’s speakership since she was elected to Congress. In 2019, Spanberger voted for fellow Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois for speaker, while in 2021, she was one of a handful who voted “present.”

Spanberger and Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas first introduced their own bipartisan bill to ban members of Congress from trading stocks in 2020.

But after Insider’s Conflicted Congress investigation in December 2021 revealed dozens of STOCK Act violations, numerous potential conflicts of interests driven by lawmakers’ stock holdings, and paltry enforcement of anti-insider trading rules, Pelosi initially balked at a stock trading ban.

Pelosi later reversed course when met with public outrage and a slew of other new stock-ban bills, but after an April hearing on the subject, leadership waited nearly six months to introduce a bill.

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