Washington — Speaker Pelosi should support legislation that would prohibit members of Congress and their spouses from trading or owning individual stocks and similar securities while in office, according to a letter sent today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Unless Congress bans this practice, we will continue to see reports that cause us to question whether members of Congress have used confidential information to make stock trades or let their financial interests influence their decision-making.
There is bipartisan legislation introduced in both the House and the Senate that would impose limits on members and their spouses–or outright ban them–from trading or holding individual stocks, bonds and similar securities. Recent polls show overwhelming bipartisan support for banning members from trading stocks while in office.
“Members of Congress in both parties are consistently failing to comply with the STOCK Act, making it clear that our current disclosure laws are not enough,” said CREW President Noah Bookbinder. “These violations of the law, and the constant possibility of more serious violations, will continue to undermine the public’s faith in Congress’s ethics. Speaker Pelosi has been a leader on ethics and democracy issues and, in that vein, should now commit to supporting comprehensive legislation that would end congressional stock trading and ownership.”
The STOCK Act was passed in 2012 to combat insider trading by members of Congress and congressional staffers. It requires members to disclose trades and other transactions of stocks, bonds and similar securities within 45 days. But recent reports have shown that this is not working.
Legislation that Pelosi should support that would strengthen the STOCK Act include the Ban Congressional Stock Trading Act, the TRUST in Congress Act, the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act, and the HUMBLE Act.
“With access to sensitive, non-public information, members of Congress have enormous potential to influence the stock market, and in turn, the stock they own can influence the decisions they make every day as legislators. Allowing members of Congress to own and trade individual stocks leaves the American public to question whether they are more focused on their own bottom line rather than representing their constituents’ interests,” Bookbinder said. “It’s time Congress passes legislation that would further demonstrate their commitment to putting people ahead of profits and rebuilding the public’s confidence in our institutions.”