Pelosi says she’s open to stock trading ban for Congress

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday appeared to suggest she is open to a ban on stock trading by members of Congress, a shift from her previous stance that members and their families should be allowed to make such financial transactions.

Asked about the hotly contested issue during her weekly press conference, Pelosi said she trusts lawmakers but would be willing to back a ban if it had the support of her caucus.

“I have great confidence in the integrity of my members. They are remarkable. So when people talk about well, somebody might do this and somebody, I trust our members,” she said.

Later in her response, however, she added, “To give a blanket attitude of we can’t do this and we can’t do that because we can’t be trusted, I just don’t buy into that. But if members want to do that, I’m OK with that.” 

Pelosi’s comments come as she faces pushback for previously objecting to a ban on stock trading in Congress, which has picked up steam on Capitol Hill and among the American public.

“We are a free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that,” she said last month.

Two recent polls, however, have found that the majority of Americans are in favor of banning lawmakers from trading stocks, with one survey finding 76 percent support and another 67 percent.

In the Senate, a pair of Democrats and one Republican introduced competing bills that both have the same objective: to ban members of Congress from trading stocks while in office. The Democrat-sponsored bill would also bar lawmakers’ family members from making such transactions, while the GOP-led bill bans such practices for spouses of lawmakers as well.

Last year, Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) reintroduced a bipartisan bill that would require lawmakers, their spouses and dependent children to transfer certain investments into a qualified blind trust while serving in office.

Under the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, or STOCK Act, members of Congress are barred from using nonpublic information they receive as part of their job to turn a personal profit. They are also required to disclose any financial transactions within 45 days of them being issued. A number of members, however, have failed to abide by the rules when it comes to reporting trades, according to Business Insider.

Pelosi is one of the wealthiest members of Congress, with a large portion of her affluence coming from the real estate and venture capital fortune her husband, Paul Pelosi, has earned. Financial disclosure forms show that Paul Pelosi trades stocks, but the Speaker herself does not own any. Her office has emphasized that she is not involved in the financial transactions. 

The push for stricter stock trading regulations came after news broke that Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) may have broken federal insider trading laws when he liquidated the majority of stock investments in February 2020, shortly after he had received classified briefings regarding the COVID-19. Authorities are investigating.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Wednesday said he was against banning members from owning or trading stocks, contending that congressional lawmakers should be afforded the same financial privileges as other Americans.

Pelosi on Thursday also suggested that the Supreme Court should be held to the same standards when it comes to stock trading, telling reporters, “If we’re saying everybody should be living by the same standard then let — so be it. That’s OK with me. But I don’t think that the court should be let off the hook.”

“So, I say when we go forward with anything, let’s take the Supreme Court with us to have disclosure,” she added.

The Hill reached out to Pelosi’s office for more information regarding the Speaker’s stance on stock trading in Congress.

Tags Abigail Spanberger Nancy Pelosi Richard Burr Steny Hoyer
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