Somehow Congress Just Can’t Get This Legislation Passed

On Sunday, The Daily Caller posted an article about Congress’ efforts to pass a law banning stock trades by members of Congress. There have been many examples of Congressmen using information based on their knowledge of pending legislation to make large sums of money on the stock market. (See articles here and here.) Somehow there seems to be no motivation to pass laws to ban that practice.

The Daily Caller reports:

  • Senate Democrats’ move to delay a bill banning members of Congress from trading stocks is “disappointing,” watchdogs that backed ban proposals told the Daily Caller News Foundation. 
  • Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley made the stock ban delay revelation to Insider Thursday, telling the outlet lawmakers are prioritizing “other bills and judicial nominations.”
  • “In order to have a government that truly works for the people, voters need to trust that lawmakers have their best interests at heart,” said Joshua Graham Lynn, CEO of RepresentUs, a nonpartisan anti-corruption group. “But by continuing to allow themselves to benefit financially from their positions of power, members of Congress are condoning legalized corruption.”

The article notes:

There have been a handful of stock ban proposals, including the Ban Conflicted Trading Act, which Merkley sponsored in March 2021 and bars members and senior congressional staffers from buying or selling stocks. Democratic Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff in January sponsored the Ban Congressional Stock Trading Act, which would require members and their families to divest their holdings within 120 days of the legislation being approved or place certain investments in a qualified blind trust.

Merkley’s announcement also comes on the heels of a New York Times report Tuesday detailing possible conflicts of interest among lawmakers who traded stocks between 2019 and 2021 while sitting on committees that may have given them key financial insight. The senator tweeted out the Times report Wednesday, claiming, “This is why I’ve been leading the charge in the Senate to ban congressional trading. We need to get it done.”

The article concludes:

“There is no excuse for any further delay on this legislation,” Dan Savickas, director of tech policy at Taxpayers Protection Alliance, a nonpartisan group focused on lowering federal spending, told the DCNF. “Congress has had ample to time to consider and pass this bill a number of times already.”

“Congressional leadership dragging its feet on this issue sadly reveals where their true priorities lie,” Savickas added.

Spokespeople for Merkley and Schumer did not respond to requests for comment. A Pelosi spokesman pointed the DCNF to her Wednesday presser remarks.

If they are not willing to stop trading their stocks, maybe they could just give all Americans a heads-up before they trade anything!