While much of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s rhetoric is met with harsh opposition from her Republican colleagues, she recently found a way to upset many fellow Democrats too.
The California Democrat argued this week in favor of allowing members of Congress to buy and sell individual stocks despite the natural concerns of insider trading, Fox News reported.
“Free market economy”
Leftist magazine Jacobin was among Pelosi’s critics, describing her view as “Orwellian” and emblematic of a “decadent ruling class.”
During a press conference on Wednesday, one reporter mentioned an investigative report that found 49 lawmakers and 182 senior staffers had violated a restriction on insider trading by members of Congress and the requirement to report all transactions of more than $1,000.
“Should members of Congress and their spouses be banned from trading individual stocks while serving in Congress?” the reporter asked.
Pelosi’s response made it clear that she supported the “free market economy” and maintained that elected officials “should be able to participate in that.”
Of course, as Jacobin and other prominent critics argued, the speaker’s endorsement of such transactions looks like a clear conflict of interest.
As the leftist outlet explained through the use of several recent examples, there is a troubling pattern of “lawmakers trading stocks in industries they oversee” or otherwise based on classified information they receive as part of their jobs in Congress. At least a few elected officials from both sides of the aisle are now fighting to change that system.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) addressed the issue in a tweet last week, writing: “It is absolutely ludicrous that members of Congress can hold and trade individual stock while in office. The access and influence we have should be exercised for the public interest, not our profit. It shouldn’t be legal for us to trade individual stock with the info we have.”
Bills presented in both chambers have sought to implement new policies that would bar members of Congress, their families, and staffers from buying or selling individual stocks or sitting on corporate boards while in office.
If successful, members would have six months to either sell those stocks, hold them for the duration of their tenure in office, or place them in a blind trust. Members would still be able to trade diversified mutual funds or exchange-traded funds.
Despite the clear push for change, Pelosi and others in leadership positions are digging in to extend the status quo.