Posted by on January 11, 2022 11:07 am
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McCarthy floats House member stock trading ban if Republicans win majority

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., responds to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, about the behavior of Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and her repeated “anti-Muslim” attacks against Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) J. Scott Applewhite/AP

McCarthy floats House member stock trading ban if Republicans win majority

Kate Scanlon January 11, 10:57 AMJanuary 11, 10:57 AM

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is reportedly considering ways to limit or ban members of Congress from holding and trading stocks if Republicans win a majority in November’s elections.

The report comes amid renewed debate over whether lawmakers should be permitted to trade stocks, when they can receive policy information before it becomes public knowledge that could affect the markets. McCarthy’s proposal could draw bipartisan support, since lawmakers of both parties have come under scrutiny for their stock transactions.

McCarthy, a California Republican, told Punchbowl News that a proposal for how to go about such limitations or bans is still in its early stages, and he hasn’t yet decided what kind of limitations they would place on stock trades or holdings.

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Current ideas under consideration include forcing lawmakers to hold only professionally managed mutual funds or prohibiting lawmakers from holding stocks in companies or industries overseen by their own committees. Some have suggested limiting lawmakers to blind trusts.

The STOCK Act prohibits lawmakers and aides from trading on private information about U.S. policy and requires members to disclose their stock transactions. But ethics groups say the law is difficult to enforce, and members routinely flout the requirements. Some lawmakers recently came under scrutiny after trades they made after they received briefings in 2020 on the coming threat of COVID-19, although no one was charged.

Business Insider reported in December that at least 52 members of Congress and 182 of the highest-paid Capitol Hill staffers did not disclose their stock trades during 2020 and 2021 within the time allotted by the law.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made millions from stock transactions in recent years, financial disclosure forms show. The California Democrat’s husband, Paul Pelosi, is a professional investor. And Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, dumped more than $1.6 million in stocks in February 2020 a week before the COVID-19 market crash, according to a new Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Pelosi in December defended lawmakers’ ability to trade stocks. “We’re a free-market economy,” Pelosi told reporters. Members of Congress “should be able to participate in that,” she added.

Some members of her own conference pushed back, including Rep. Abigail Spanberger, who has advocated for elected officials and their families to “place assets in a blind trust to prevent them from profiting off their positions.”

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The STOCK Act was signed by then-President Barack Obama in 2012, but, in contrast with Pelosi, some Democrats have backed banning these trades altogether. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has introduced a bill to do so multiple times. Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff is reportedly planning to introduce a comparable bill. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has also called for an end to the practice.

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Originally appeared at Washington Examiner

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