Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff, 34, is the youngest sitting senator and one of only 10 to put their financial assets in a blind trust
Freshman Democratic Senator Jon Ossoff wants to ban members of Congress from trading individual stock while in office, a report claimed on Saturday.
The Georgia senator is reportedly looking for a Republican co-sponsor for the Ossoff ethics bill, which would prevent lawmakers and their families from participating in the stock market for the duration of their Congressional term, according to the New York Post.
Ossoff is likely to face powerful opposition within his own party.
Crackdowns on members of Congress trading stock have been opposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose husband made millions of dollars in individual stock trades just last month alone.
At 34 years old, Ossoff is the youngest sitting senator. He is also one of only 10 sitting members of Congress — which has 535 voting members — to put his financial assets in a qualified blind trust, a Congressionally-approved arrangement where a lawmaker transfers control over their assets to an independent entity.
His planned legislation could also reportedly force his colleagues to do the same.
With the exception of the 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act), which makes it illegal for lawmakers to use non-public information for private profit and requires them to publicly disclose stock and bond transactions within 45 days, there are few guardrails in place on Congress’ private dollars.
Pelosi flatly refused to support a ban on legislators’ market activity when asked about the issue at a mid-December press conference.
‘We’re a free market economy,’ the Speaker told reporters on December 15. ‘They [lawmakers] should be able to participate in that.’
During the height of the coronavirus pandemic multiple legislators faced accusations of profiting off the stock market just before the economy plummeted and upended millions of Americans’ lives.
Pelosi spoke out against banning lawmakers from the stock market before her husband, Paul Pelosi, traded thousands of tech stocks
The accusations prompted Justice Department investigations into the financial activity of Senators Dianne Feinstein, James Inhofe and Richard Burr, as well as former Senator Kelly Loeffler. All four probes have since been closed.
As many as 49 legislators and 182 Congressional staffers were found to have violated the STOCK Act by reporting their trades late from January through September 2021, according to a Business Insider report.
The same investigation found that more than 220 other representatives and senators, around 40 percent of Congress, held a combined sum of $225 million in stock assets during 2020.
A similar bill to Ossoff’s was introduced in the Senate in March, the Ban Conflicted Trading Act. However, its trading ban only extends to members of Congress and their staff, excluding Ossoff’s limits on spouses and other family.
That means if passed, Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, would be able to continue his prolific trading activity.
Two days after Pelosi shot down a ban on trading at her press conference last month, her husband bought stock in Alphabet worth between $500,001 and $1 million. He also bought shares in Disney worth between $100,001 and $250,000.
Three days after that on Dec. 20, he made two separate purchases in Salesforce – one worth between $100,001 and $250,000 and another between $500,001 and $1 million, and one purchase of Roblox worth between $250,001 and $500,000.
Pelosi’s periodic transaction report reveals her family is making millions of dollars while she’s in Congress
On Dec. 21, he purchased stock in Micron Technology worth between $250,001 and $500,000 and on Dec. 22, there was a purchase of Reoff XX worth $50,001-$100,000.
Over the course of five days, Paul Pelosi purchased stock worth anywhere between $1,750,007 and $3,600,000.
Paul Pelosi has proven himself a prolific stock trader, so much so that social investing app Iris allows users to track their trades and be notified every time he makes a purchase so that they can do the same.
‘Every single stock she [Pelosi, through her husband] has bought in the last two years has gone up significantly,’ Christopher Josephs, cofounder of Iris, told Yahoo.
And popular Twitter account @NancyTracker, which tracked Pelosi’s investments, was banned from the social media network.
Asked about the recent trades, Pelosi’s chief of staff and spokesperson Drew Hammill said that they had all been made by the speaker’s husband and she did not own any stocks herself. ‘
The Speaker has no prior knowledge or subsequent involvement in any transactions,’ Hammill told DailyMail.com.
‘The STOCK Act exists to shine a bright light on trades by Members of Congress. Sunlight is the best disinfectant,’ Hammill said.