Lawmakers Urge Pelosi to Delay Vote on Stock Trading Restrictions

A bipartisan group of politicians has asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to push a vote on a package of proposals that would prohibit members of Congress from owning and selling individual shares.

On Monday, 27 lawmakers, led by Democrat Congressman Jared Golden, urged Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to “immediately introduce legislation prohibiting Congress members from holding or dealing stocks on the House floor.”

Contents of the Letter

The letter explicitly references the Prevent Conflicted Trading and the Faith in Congress Act.

“Regrettably, this bipartisan measure is required in light of recent wrongdoing and is backed by Americans throughout the political spectrum,” the letter stated.

“Both of you have lately discussed this problem in public statements, but this blatant concern will not go away unless it is addressed. Congress should act swiftly when we have the authority to do so.”

The members claimed the STOCK Act had been violated numerous times since 2012 by everyone from legislative staff to government officials, such as Biden Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, who violated the legislation nine times in 2021. 

The members also cited the 2020 insider trading controversy.

A bipartisan group of senators, such as Republicans Richard Burr, Kelly Loeffler, David Purdue, and Democrat Dianne Feinstein, were found to have purchased or sold shares, based on non-public data about the then-emerging COVID-19 disease outbreak.

They did not breach the wording of the law, the senators stated. Yet, since the statute is so limited and the phrase “nonpublic information” is so ambiguous, prosecuting offenders is exceedingly difficult.

“Congress must simply prohibit members from holding or trading individual equities while in office,” the letter stated.

“In addition to ensuring that members’ availability of information does not provide them with an unfair edge over the public when buying stocks, as the STOCK Act intended, this would prevent lawmakers from pursuing legislative results that benefit their holdings.”

“This might imply some of our colleagues will pass tempting investment chances. We are unconcerned. We were elected to Congress to serve our nation, not to profit from it.”

Over 75% of Americans Support This Act

Furthermore, the lawmakers stated 76 percent of Americans oppose Congress trading in stocks. Lawmakers admitted many measures had been submitted by Congress members from both parties in the House.

“Nevertheless, wringing one’s hands about which bill to pursue should not be a justification for delaying a House floor vote on this matter,” they said.

“Rather than that, we consider the appearance of bipartisan legislation on this subject as an indication of widespread grassroots support throughout Congress.”

“Members’ legitimate disagreements on the contents of this act can be handled through the constitutional amendment.”

“While Congress faces several challenging issues, this one is straightforward. Individual Congress members should be prohibited from owning or trading in individual stocks. Let’s get this over with.”

The petition was co-signed by 24 more Democrats, including Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Rashida Tlaib. Republican Representative Matt Gaetz signed the bill, alongside Pennsylvania Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick.