In a major reversal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has indicated she’ll cave to pressure from conservative Republicans that are leading a bipartisan effort to ban Congressmembers from owning and trading individual stocks.
Critics have accused Pelosi of using insider knowledge provided by her position in the House of Representatives to help her husband, a hedge fund manager, make incredible gains.
Pelosi previously defended lawmakers trading stock despite having access to insider information.
“We are a free market economy. They should be able to participate in that,” Pelosi, whose husband has made tens of millions of dollars since she was first elected, said in December.
Pelosi made her reversal public during a press conference on Wednesday.
“I’m a big believer in our committees, and we’ve tasked the House Administration Committee to review the options that members are putting forth,” Pelosi said when asked about the proposal.
The bill would likely include the entire federal government, meaning judicial officials would be included in the ban.
“The judiciary has no reporting. The Supreme Court has no disclosure,” Pelosi said. “It has no reporting of stock transactions, and it makes important decisions every day.”
The issue of congressional stock trading has taken on new urgency since the beginning of the pandemic, when suspiciously timed stock trades by lawmakers in both parties provoked outrage and led to multiple investigations.
To date, no one in Congress has ever been charged in connection with stock trading investigations undertaken by the Justice Department and the Securities Exchange Commission.
But the inadequacies of a 2012 law called the Stock Act, which bars members from using inside information to make investment decisions and requires that all stock trades be reported to Congress within 45 days, has become apparent in recent years.
The 2012 law was passed with bipartisan support in the wake of a stock trading scandal. Yet in the nearly 10 years since it was enacted, no one has been prosecuted under it even as many members continue to conspicuously trade.
What is behind Pelosi’s sudden reversal regarding a stock trading ban? Perhaps the fact that Pelosi does not own any stock herself. It is unlikely the ban on trading stocks in Congress would extend to the family of lawmakers.
In some recent cases, lawmakers have failed to report their trades altogether, as required by the law.
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“We have a responsibility to report,” Pelosi said at the time. “If people aren’t reporting they should be.”
The Horn News and the Associated Press contributed to this article