Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a conservative firebrand, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a progressive rising star, both introduced a bill that would prohibit the members of Congress from trading individual stocks.
In recent years, several famous legislators have been accused of utilizing their intimate awareness of upcoming laws or economic instability to purchase equities at advantageous moments while minimizing losses through selling shares. The Bipartisan Restoring Faith in Govt. Act would bar legislators, their spouses, as well as their dependents from owning individual stocks or even derivatives.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), a co-sponsor of the legislation, said in a statement that “the mere fact that the members of the Progressive Caucus, the Freedom Caucus, and the Bipartisan Problem-Solving Caucus, illustrating the whole of the political spectrum, are able to find agreeable solutions on important issues like this should be sending a strong message to America. We must advance the issues that bind us together, including our steadfast belief that confidence in government must be reestablished and that all members of Congress, which includes their dependents, must be banned from trading in stocks as long as they have positions in Congress while maintaining access to confidential, inside knowledge.”
Lawmakers would still be allowed to keep assets in a qualifying blind trust or within the federal retirement system, among other broadly held investment funds as well as government securities.
The act is one of a number of proposals in the legislature to prohibit lawmakers and their relatives from trading individual stocks. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) presented the Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments Act earlier this year, while Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Matt Rosendale (R-MT), and Ken Buck (R-CO) proposed similar legislation just over two months ago.
“Congressmen are wasting their time trading futures rather than protecting the future of their fellow citizens. We cannot allow the Swamp to place a higher priority on stock investments than on investments in our nation, added Gaetz.
“Members shouldn’t be trading in the stock market using classified information when they have access to it. It’s actually that simple,” added Ocasio-Cortez.
According to a New York Times research published last year, as many as 97 politicians or their direct family members purchased or sold properties tied to their congressional committee work between 2019 and 2021. While their spouses were in positions of power, Paul Pelosi, a stock investor as well as the husband of Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Elaine Chao, a Republican who worked as the Transportation Secretary and also the wife of the present Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), was trading individual stocks.
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