Calls increase for ban on congressional stock trading

US Politics

FILE – This Nov. 23, 2020 file photo shows the New York Stock Exchange in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

(The Hill) – Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) on Tuesday urged Congress to ban lawmakers, their spouses, and their senior staffers from trading stocks.

Fetterman, one of the top Democratic candidates in Pennsylvania’s midterm Senate contest, joins a growing list of high-profile congressional candidates embracing the popular proposal.    

“Allowing members of Congress and their spouses to trade stocks is a clear conflict of interest,” he said in a statement. “Lawmakers should not be making profits off of the same companies they are supposed to be regulating, based on closed-door information that isn’t available to the public.” 

In a recent poll, 76 percent of voters expressed support for banning members of Congress from trading individual stocks, including 70 percent of Democrats, 78 percent of Republicans, and nearly 80 percent of independents. 

Lawmakers’ stock trades drew unprecedented scrutiny after Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and others unloaded securities just before the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the market in early 2020. Since then, Business Insider identified more than 50 lawmakers who violated congressional stock trading rules by failing to disclose their transactions. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) brought more attention to the issue during a press conference last month in which she said that lawmakers should not prevent themselves from being able to trade stocks. 

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

Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) plans to introduce a bill to ban lawmakers and their immediate family members from trading individual stocks. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) previously introduced a similar bill that didn’t gain momentum in Congress. 

The proposal to ban the practice is gaining momentum with 2022 candidates in both parties. Republican Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, Democratic Missouri Senate candidate Lucas Kunce and Democratic Wisconsin Senate candidate Tom Nelson recently announced support for a ban. 

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