Both Bills Would Require All Members of Congress — and their Spouses — to Put Certain Investment Assets in a Blind Trust During their Time in Office
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) last night introduced the Ban Congressional Stock Trading Act, legislation based on U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger’s Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust (TRUST) in Congress Act. This now-bicameral effort builds on Spanberger’s longstanding push to prevent insider trading by Members of Congress, their spouses, and their dependent children.
Spanberger’s TRUST in Congress Act would increase transparency and reduce opportunities for insider trading by requiring Members of Congress — as well as their spouses and dependent children — to put certain investment assets into a qualified blind trust during their entire tenure in Congress. By establishing this new firewall between Members and their investments, the TRUST in Congress Act would make sure Members of Congress cannot use their positions in the U.S. House or U.S. Senate to unethically inform investment decisions or influence the value of their existing investments.
“In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the public react to accusations of insider trading by lawmakers — not with shock, but with a shrug. The perception of insider trading itself, let alone the practice of it, by Members of Congress is damaging to our democracy,” said Spanberger. “The TRUST in Congress Act would help restore trust and make sure the public knows that lawmakers are serving the public — not serving their stock portfolios. Yesterday, I was glad to see Senators Ossoff and Kelly help lead the shared effort to enact good governance reforms within the halls of Congress. And in recent days, I have been encouraged to see the TRUST in Congress Act receive a wide range of support from lawmakers as we build momentum.”
Spanberger reintroduced the TRUST in Congress Act in the U.S. House in January 2021 alongside U.S. Representative Chip Roy (R-TX-21).
In recent days, support for Spanberger’s bipartisan bill has grown — and the legislation is now also cosponsored by lawmakers across the political spectrum — including Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-AL) and U.S. Representatives Scott Perry (R-PA-10), Mondaire Jones (D-NY-17), Fred Keller (R-PA-12), Bill Foster (D-IL-11), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-06), Jim Cooper (D-TN-05), Dean Phillips (D-MN-03), Val Butler Demings (D-FL-10), Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Michael Cloud (R-TX-27), Karen Bass (D-CA-37), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ-07), Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Haley Stevens (D-MI-11), Katie Porter (D-CA-45), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01).
The bipartisan TRUST in Congress Act has been endorsed by many key advocacy and government accountability organizations — including the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), National Taxpayers Union, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Public Citizen, Government Information Watch, Protect Democracy, Government Accountability Project, FreedomWorks, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Issue One, Open the Government, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), Campaign Legal Center, Americans for Prosperity, Democracy 21, Fix the Court, End Citizens United Action Fund, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
Specifically, Spanberger’s TRUST in Congress Act would:
- Require all Members of Congress, their spouses, and their dependent children to put certain investment assets into a qualified blind trust within 90 days after the enactment of this legislation. New Members of Congress, and their spouses and dependent children, would be required to place covered investments into a qualified blind trust within 90 days of assuming office. Affected individuals can remove assets from the blind trust 180 days after the Member leaves Congress.
- Require all Members to either 1) certify to the Clerk of the House of Representatives or the Secretary of the Senate that they have established a blind trust to include covered investments or 2) certify to the Clerk or the Secretary that they do not own any covered investments. The status of these certifications would be made publicly available by the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate.
- Define covered investments as the following: a security, commodity, future, or any comparable economic interest acquired through synthetic means such as the use of a derivative.
- Clarify that the following do not qualify as covered investments for the purpose of this bill: a widely held investment fund (such as a mutual fund) or a U.S. Treasury bill, note, or bond. These investments would not have to be placed in a blind trust.
Spanberger originally introduced the TRUST in Congress Act in July 2020. Click here for the full bill text.