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Three in four voters support banning lawmakers from trading stocks: poll

Three-quarters of voters agree that members of Congress should not be able to trade stocks while serving in office, according to a new poll released Thursday. 

The survey, commissioned by conservative advocacy group Convention of States Action, found that 76 percent of voters believe that lawmakers and their spouses have an “unfair advantage” in the stock market. Just 5 percent of respondents approved of members trading stocks, while 19 percent gave no opinion.

“In an era of hyper-partisanship, voters in all parties agree that members of Congress should not be enriching themselves using ‘insider information’ while serving the people,” Mark Meckler, the group’s president, said in a statement. “This issue has received a lot of attention, and this data verifies the American people want this practice to end once and for all.”

Some prominent politicians, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), called on Congress to ban lawmakers from trading stocks after Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and others came under fire for selling securities just before the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the market in 2020. The Securities and Exchange Commission is currently investigating Burr’s trades. 

However, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), whose husband is a prolific trader, told reporters last month that Congress should not block lawmakers from trading stocks.

“We’re a free-market economy,” Pelosi said. “They should be able to participate in that.”

She added that members of Congress must follow federal laws that bar them from taking advantage of nonpublic information and require them to disclose their stock trades.

The issue received renewed attention after Business Insider reported last week that 52 members of Congress failed to properly disclose their financial transactions. Lawmakers currently face minuscule fines for violating stock trading rules.

Other surveys have shown similar support for cracking down on congressional stock trading. A November poll from the Campaign Legal Center found that 67 percent of voters support banning lawmakers from owning stock in specific companies.

The Convention of States Action poll found that 70 percent of Democrats, 78 percent of Republicans and nearly 80 percent of independents say members of Congress should not be allowed to trade stocks.

The poll, conducted by the Trafalgar Group, surveyed 1,706 likely general election voters between Dec. 17-21. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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