Spanberger Survey Finds Virginians Overwhelmingly Oppose Stock Trading by Members of Congress

Of More Than 3,200 Submissions, 93 Percent of Respondents Oppose Allowing Lawmakers to Buy, Trade, or Sell Individual Stocks While in Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today announced the initial results of her survey asking Virginians if they believe Members of Congress, their spouses, and their dependent children should be allowed to personally buy, trade, or sell individual stocks while serving in Congress.

In one week since launching the survey, Spanberger’s office has received more than 3,200 responses from Virginians who made their voices heard on this issue. Of those responses, more than 93 percent oppose allowing lawmakers to make decisions as to which individual stocks they are buying, trading, or selling while serving in the U.S. House or U.S. Senate.

Last year, Spanberger reintroduced bipartisan legislation called the Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust (TRUST) in Congress Act to increase transparency and reduce opportunities for insider trading by requiring that Members of Congress — as well as their spouses and dependent children — put certain investment assets into a qualified blind trust during their entire tenure in Congress. A companion bill led by U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) was introduced last week.

“I firmly believe that Members of Congress and their spouses should be prohibited from buying, trading, or selling stocks while serving in elected office,” said Spanberger. “I want Congress to take concrete, proactive steps to avoid even the potential perception of self-dealing — and it is clear that thousands of Virginians share this sentiment. Over the last week, my constituents have agreed that lawmakers should be prohibited from unfairly informing their own investment decisions and expressed their support for our legislation to remove these opportunities for impropriety. I will continue moving our TRUST in Congress Act forward in the U.S. House and working to show the American people that we are deserving of that trust.”

Some of the 3,276 responses that Virginians submitted through the survey include:

“It is a MASSIVE conflict of interest to allow trading while in office. Why it was ever allowed in the first place is beyond my understanding. Thank you for addressing this issue.” — Angela, Louisa

“I agree with Rep Spanberger on this important legislation. AND she has the exact right approach: rebuilding TRUST in our elected legislators!” — Edward, Orange

“The fact that Members of Congress are privy to information not available to the general public, makes for an unfair advantage and should be viewed as insider trading. I still like to believe that our Representatives, at all levels of government, choose this path for love of country and to do their bit to make our world a better place for those that come after us, and not for personal gain. Thank you.” — Lorena, Chesterfield

“Rep Spanberger hit the nail on the head: members of Congress have too much inside knowledge about legislation and how it affects markets and individual companies. Acting on this is the same as insider trading, which is prohibited by the SEC.” — Larry, Culpeper

“Being as information moves the markets (intentionally or unintentionally) then individuals in the position to impact the market shouldn’t be in a position to profit from it. Leaders should be willing to accept the occasional limits required to demonstrate the integrity that their roles require.” — Cutee, Spotsylvania

“Lawmakers should not have an advantage that others do not. Non-public information like this can reap huge financial benefits for lawmakers. I’m surprised this isn’t already illegal. What happened to the concepts of ethical behavior, public servant, and working for the benefit of society? Thank you, Representative Spanberger, for helping drive this important legal change.” — Sherry, Chesterfield

“To serve in Congress is a privilege! Having access to inside information or being able to influence a company’s bottom line is a recipe for greed for our elected officials and should not be allowed! I totally agree with Rep. Spanberger’s reasoning and support her fully in her efforts to get this passed!” — Nancy, Henrico

“We completely agree with your reasoning. Having open ownership of certain stocks could certainly cause a biased vote on related issues. The ability to buy, trade or sell individual stock while in office would give the congressperson an unfair and unethical advantage while serving his/her country. A very large buy, trade or sell of stocks because of inside information could actually affect that particular stock and/or other related ones on the market. Thank you, Congresswoman Spanberger.” — Richard and Elaine, Orange

“THANK YOU for putting attention on this important corruption issue! I don’t think members of Congress should benefit from stock trades while in office due to conflicts of interest. Lawmakers have the ability to significantly influence stock prices. There were too many disturbing stories about congressmen advising wealthy constituents to sell stocks before COVID shut-downs, while telling the public everything was fine.” — Jennifer, Henrico

“Members should certainly be able to participate in the investment environment, however safeguards against unfair use of information that might have as a result of their position should be put in place. Blind trusts are an acceptable approach. Thank you for your service to the people of the current 7th district.” — William, Chesterfield

“I want to be sure my lawmakers are making decisions based on what is best for their constituents, not personal profit.” — Ned, Henrico

“Restoring TRUST in Congress is a thoughtful and positive way to frame this measure. Respect for and trust in our governmental institutions needs to be reinforced now more than ever.” — Rob, Chesterfield

Spanberger originally introduced the TRUST in Congress Act in June 2020. Click here for full bill text.


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