House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has reportedly begun weighing whether to ban congressional lawmakers from stock trading, flip-flopping from her December position.
With the November midterms approaching and President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda collapsed, leading congressional Democrats have turned their focus on ending lawmakers’ ability to trade individual stocks. Seventy-six percent of voters believe congressional members and their spouses have an “unfair advantage” trading stocks.
Nancy Pelosi, along with Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), chair of the House Administration Committee, is working on a detailed plan on how to end what voters deem inside congressional trading, Punchbowl News reported.
“This Democratic package is expected to include new restrictions on investments for federal judges as well,” Punchbowl reported. “In addition, the Democratic leadership is eyeing increases in the fines for lawmakers who are late in filing their annual financial disclosure reports.”
Yet Pelosi’s deliberations have reportedly stuck complications, such as whether to provide exemptions for pre-elected portfolios, capital gains taxes, and family members.
Pelosi’s consideration comes as she was slammed last month by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) for her husband’s stock trading activity that allegedly sways her legislative judgment. The Pelosis raked in $4.8 million dollars on tech options in July.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pictured with her husband, Paul Pelosi. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
Nancy Pelosi has denied she owns any of the stocks her husband trades. In December, Pelosi defended congressional stock trading as participation in a “free market economy.”
The initiative to ban congressional stock trades has also ramped up in the Senate. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Steve Daines (R-MO) have reportedly come to terms on legislation to ban congressional stock trading. Their measure would ban lawmakers and “their spouses from owning and trading individual stocks,” Axios reported.
Several other Senate proposals exist, though none have quite taken off. But with the midterms around the corner and popular sentiment opposed to congressional stock trading, Democrats have become more vocal about banning them. The initiative may receive bipartisan support from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (C-CA).
Those lawmakers who have traded the largest amount of stocks are reportedly Republicans:
I have just released the full trading report on politicians in 2021.
In short, many beat the market.
They traded more than ever before.
And they made numerous unusually timed trades, resulting in huge gains.
— unusual_whales (@unusual_whales) January 10, 2022
Overall, lawmakers are taking advantage of their elected positions that entail information to which average Americans are not privy, according to UnusualWhales.com:
Congress bought and sold nearly $290 million in stocks (corresponding to 3,500+ transactions by 105 members of Congress), $140 million in options contracts (270+ transactions by 6 members), $124 million in other securities like private equity funds (200+ transactions by 19 members), and $500k in cryptocurrencies (25 transactions by 6 members). 430 members did not take a trade in 2021.
The massive amount of stock trades have been noticed by the Washington Post’s editorial board, which endorsed the idea of banning lawmakers from trading individual stocks in January.