WVIR: Rep. Spanberger introduces bill aimed at rebuilding trust in Congress


7th District Democratic Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger is working to rebuild trust and transparency on Capitol Hill.

The Democrat is reintroducing a bill called the TRUST in Congress Act that she says gained greater significance at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The fact that there was even the worry or concern that while members of Congress should be focused on how to contend with a global pandemic, they might be making stock choices, to me was worrisome,” Spanberger said.

The bill would require all members of Congress to put certain investment assets in a blind trust during their time in office. A member would be eligible to remove assets 180 days after leaving Congress.

“We should remove not just the ability to behave improperly but even the possibility of that perception,” Spanberger said.

According to the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, in 2020 lawmakers on both sides of the aisle made potentially unethical decisions buying and selling stocks with information gained from their positions.

“This is about doing the right thing. This isn’t even a close call. This is obvious, and by the way it has bipartisan support,” University of Virginia Center for Politics Director Larry Sabato said.

Spanberger’s office contacted Sabato seeking his thoughts on the bill, and he’s now a public supporter. Sabato says most lawmakers already have blind trusts, so this bill would root out those who don’t.

“This bill is designed to weed out the relative handful of members who are using the information they gain in Congress in an inappropriate way,” Sabato said.

Democrats promised sweeping legislation with their new majorities in Congress and the Democratic lawmaker is hopeful this bill will be one to become law.

“I think there will be a little bit of work to continue to push this forward. I imagine there’s going to be some hesitancy on the part of some of my colleagues, but the exciting part is it really has drawn a very broad coalition of folks together,” Spanberger said.

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