Politics

Sen. Jon Ossoff set to introduce bill barring members of Congress from trading individual stocks: report

Jon Ossoff
Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia.

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  • The proposal would apply to members that are currently serving in office, along with their families.

Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia is set to introduce legislation that would bar members of Congress from holding or trading individual stocks while they’re in elective office, according to The New York Post.

The ethics bill — which the 34-year-old freshman Democratic senator reportedly hopes to file once he has a Republican cosponsor — would tackle legislative conflicts of interest by banning members and their families from trading stocks, according to a source in Washington DC with knowledge of the matter.

In addition, the legislation would likely mandate that lawmakers place their financial assets in blind trusts — an action that Ossoff took himself after being elected to the Senate in a January 2021 runoff election.

The proposed bill would present a huge contrast to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who last month publicly defended the practice after Insider’s Bryan Metzger asked if she would support a stock-trading ban for members at a press conference.

“We are a free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that,” the veteran California Democrat said at the time in response to the question.

When the speaker was asked about Conflicted Congress — Insider’s comprehensive investigative project which revealed that 52 congressional lawmakers and 182 senior congressional staffers had infringed on the STOCK Act, an Obama-era law crafted to clamp down on insider trading — she indicated that she had not yet reviewed the body of work.

Pelosi then stated that it was imperative that members adhere to the terms of the law.

So far, no Senate Republicans have publicly voiced opposition against stock trading among members, but House Republicans including Reps. Michael Cloud and Chip Roy of Texas back legislation ending the practice.

And Democrats including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York have held firm to their endorsement of stock-trading bans.

A proposed bill that would end trades among members — the Ban Conflicted Trading Act — was introduced in the Senate last year by four lawmakers, including Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Georgia’s other freshman senator, Raphael Warnock. A House version is backed by Ocasio-Cortez and Roy, along with additional members from both parties.

However, the bill would bar trades among members and senior staffers, while excluding congressional spouses and other family members.

According to Insider, Pelosi is one of the wealthiest members of Congress — with a minimum estimated net worth of $46 million and reported assets dispersed among mutual funds, property holdings, and stocks owned by her husband, Paul.

Pelosi’s husband possesses holdings in a range of companies, from Alphabet and Netflix to Salesforce and Slack.

Ossoff’s bill would close the spousal loophole, according to the earlier source who had knowledge of the proposal.

According to a December survey conducted by the conservative group Convention of States Action, 76 percent of voters give a thumbs down to lawmakers and their spouses trading stocks — with the opinion that those individuals have garnered an “unfair advantage” in the stock market — while only 5 percent of voters were fine with the practice.

Read the original article on Business Insider

This content was originally published here.

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