Momentum builds for ban on Pelosi-style stock trading in Congress

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband could be forced to stop trading individual stocks as bipartisan momentum builds on Capitol Hill for a ban on the practice. 

Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) is set to introduce legislation within days that would ban lawmakers and their families from trading stocks while in office.

“I’m an advocate for banning stock trading by members of Congress,” Ossoff said in a Senate hearing on Tuesday, days after The Post first reported his plans. “I will be introducing legislation this week intending to make that the law.” 

A DC insider told The Post that Ossoff wants his bill to be bipartisan and won’t introduce it until he has a Republican co-sponsor. He may have found a partner in Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who said Tuesday that he’s looking into Ossoff’s proposal.

“I’m trying to get up to speed on his legislation, see what it provides for,” Hawley told Politico. “My own view is whether it’s using broad based mutual funds or a blind trust, I just think there’s a lot to be said about members not trading individual stocks.”

“I don’t own any individual stock. This is a decision my wife and I made,” Hawley added.

Ossoff’s bill would likely require lawmakers and their families to put their assets in blind trusts — a step that the 34-year-old freshman senator completed himself months after being elected in January 2021. 

Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said he’s “trying to get up to speed” on Ossoff’s bill and could potentially support it.
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Another potential Republican co-sponsor could be Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), the only Republican in the Senate who has placed his assets in a blind trust.

Hawley’s office declined to comment on whether he will co-sponsor Ossoff’s bill, while Hoeven’s office did not respond.

In the House, meanwhile, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that he would consider a ban on stock trades by members of Congress but did not endorse a specific plan.

“If you’re the Speaker of the House, you control what comes to the floor, what goes through committee, you have all the power to do everything you want — you can’t be trading millions of dollars,” McCarthy told The Post on Tuesday.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that he would consider a ban on stock trades by members of Congress.
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Other House Republicans, however, took issue with McCarthy’s comments, with one anonymous lawmaker griping to the The Post that a ban would be a “short-term political gain against Pelosi, while making members worse off for the long term.” 

Some Democrats also squirmed when reporters questioned them about a potential ban. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) — seen as a possible successor to Pelosi as House Speaker — refused to say whether he supports a ban when questioned by Insider on Tuesday. 

“I’m unfamiliar with the legislation, it hasn’t been presented to me, nobody has talked to me about it. And of course I’m open to having any conversations with any members,” Jeffries said, adding that Democrats “certainly aren’t going to be lectured on ethics by Kevin McCarthy of all people.” 

A spokesperson for Jeffries declined to comment further.

Possible Pelosi successor Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) refused to say whether he supports a ban on stock trading by members of Congress.
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has also refused on Tuesday to say whether he would support a ban — but appeared to admit that his colleagues trading individual stocks could be a problem.

“I haven’t seen what McCarthy said, but I don’t own any stocks and I think that’s the right thing to do,” Schumer said at a press conference.

Meanwhile, John Fetterman — the leading Democratic candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania’s 2022 primary — came out against Congressional stock trades on Tuesday.

“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,” Fetterman said.

“I don’t own any stocks and I think that’s the right thing to do,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said.
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Blake Masters, a Republican candidate for Senate in Arizona, has also previously said he supports a ban — as have Democrats including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

While members of Congress are still torn about blocking themselves from trading stocks, a ban is supported by a whopping 76% of US voters — including 70% of Democrats, 78% of Republicans and 80% of independents, according to a December poll by the conservative advocacy group Convention of States Action. 

Spokespeople for McCarthy and Schumer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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