Washington Examiner: House lawmakers resurrect bipartisan stock trading proposal

WASHINGTON EXAMINER, VIRGINIA AABRAM

Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) are reviving a bipartisan push to ban members of Congress, staff, and their immediate families from trading stocks.

Roy and Spanberger have partnered on the Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust in Congress, or TRUST, Act in three consecutive sessions of Congress, but it has never been brought to the floor for a vote.

“The American people are tired of seeing members of Congress making pretty significant profits while they’re voting on the very policies that affect the corporations that they’re meeting with on a regular basis,” Roy told Fox Business on Thursday.

The legislation already had 35 sponsors from across the political spectrum, ranging from firebrand conservative Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to Progressive Caucus member Katie Porter (D-CA). More co-sponsors will likely sign on, as the same bill had over 70 backers by the end of the 117th Congress.

“Members of Congress — through our votes, through our actions — have the ability to move markets, and as a result of that reality, members of Congress shouldn’t be able to buy or sell individual stocks,” Spanberger told CNBC Thursday morning. “We think it’s a common sense reform that makes real sense to the American people. It’s a way to ensure we’re making decisions in the best interest of those we represent, and that the information we need to have access to along the way in our ability to do our job is not information we might use to our own benefit.”

Neither the TRUST Act nor a similar bill sponsored by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) ever got a vote last fall, partly because there was a bipartisan coalition united against reforming the stock trading laws. Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) never brought either of them to the floor, citing pressing funding bills as a higher priority. Much of the scrutiny of lawmakers trading stocks stemmed from reports that her husband, Paul Pelosi, was making millions from trading stocks of companies she helps regulate.

“[Pelosi] has 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,” Spanberger said in October. “The speaker, unfortunately, doesn’t support it, which is why I will not and have not supported the speaker.”

Newly elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said he would consider bringing the legislation to the floor.

“I think there’s a way that we could do something that brings greater integrity to the House. … So I’ve got a number of people looking at a couple of things. But I think we’ll take this up,” he said in October.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) resigned from his top post on the Senate Intelligence Committee when the Department of Justice investigated his trades in 2020. The DOJ decided not to pursue insider trading charges.

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