Pelosi Says Democrats Expect Proposals ‘Soon’ For A Ban On Stock Trading
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that Democratic leaders were looking at proposals that would bar members of Congress from trading individual stocks, adding momentum to the idea amid growing pressure from both sides of the aisle.
Pelosi said during her weekly news conference that she expected legislation to be put forward “pretty soon,” adding the caveat that she wanted any new legislation to extend to the federal judiciary and U.S. Supreme Court.
“I do believe in the integrity of people in public service,” Pelosi said Wednesday. “I want the public to have that understanding. We have to do this to deter something that we see as a problem, but it is a confidence issue. And if that’s what the members want to do, then that’s what we will do.”
“We’ll go forward with what the consensus is,” she added.
The comments are part of a shift in tone from Pelosi, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, who had opposed any increased restrictions on stock trading for lawmakers as recently as December. But growing pressure among Democrats — and concern from the public that some lawmakers have profited from their positions — have prompted the speaker to say she would listen to her party members.
There will likely be several proposals to address the stock trading issue, and it’s unclear how far-reaching they may go and still garner support in both chambers of Congress. Some proposals could also extend to lawmakers’ family members and spouses, while others could merely mandate investments be placed in a blind trust.
On Wednesday, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) reintroduced the so-called STOCK Act 2.0, which would strengthen financial disclosure requirements for lawmakers and ban stock trading for many public officials, with steep fines for those who flout the law. The law, if passed, would build on the STOCK Act of 2012, which was designed to combat insider trading. Ethics groups have found, however, that lawmakers from both parties have violated the law, and Pelosi has said it isn’t strong enough.
“Few Americans trust that our government is working for them, and that’s a real problem for our democracy,” Porter said in a statement. “By strengthening disclosure requirements and banning top officials from trading stocks, we can help restore faith in our government. The American people deserve to have confidence that those in power are working in the public’s interest, not in their own self-interests.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has also expressed support for a stock ownership ban, saying the idea was an “important issue” that had “clearly raised interest on both sides of the aisle.”
“We have different bills from a variety of different members, and I’ve asked our members to get together and try to come up with one bill,” Schumer said Tuesday. “But I would like to see it done.”