Many in her own party are criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for defending the practice of members of Congress trading stocks while in office, The Hill reported on Tuesday.
Pelosi last week said, when asked by Business Insider about its report revealing that dozens of lawmakers and staff had violated a law to prevent insider trading, that they should all obey disclosure regulations but insisted, “We are a free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that.”
Many Democrats objected to that stance, with New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez taking to Twitter: “There is no reason members of Congress should hold and trade individual stock when we write major policy and have access to sensitive information. There are many ways members can invest w/o creating actual or appeared conflict of interest, like thrift savings plans or index funds.”
New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim echoed that stance, writing in a tweet that “members of Congress should not be allowed to trade individual stocks. Neither should the President or other senior officials. Americans are losing trust in government and we need to show we serve the people, not our personal/political self-interest.”
Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips added his opposition among Democrats to Pelosi’s comments, stating on Twitter that “I disagree with the Speaker, which is why I’m one of fifteen, bipartisan co-sponsors of @RepSpanberger’s TRUST in Congress Act, which would require all members of Congress to place tradable investments in a blind trust. I’ve done it, and believe we all should.”
A 2012 law known as the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act placed stricter disclosure rules on lawmakers that explicitly prohibits them from using non-public information gained from their official duties for profit, according to The Hill.
Although numerous members of Congress from both parties have been accused of violating the law, the Justice Department often decides not to pursue charges due to difficulties in proving the cases.