Crooked Politicians Held Accountable

Nancy Pelosi

( – As proposals to ban individual stock trades by members of Congress gain momentum in the House, some Senate Republicans are expressing their opposition to the idea.

Saying it would put pressure on lower-earning colleagues and dissuade qualified candidates from running for office, Republicans in the Senate have already begun to raise concerns.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who owns farmland in Butler County, Iowa, and earns between $100,000 and $1,000,000 from grain sales, said he was not “ready to do that.”

Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) noted that as one of the least wealthy members of the Senate questioned why his wife should be required to divest herself from bank stock she inherited from her father.

He emphasized the role of “full disclosure,” saying, “Gayle and I have got to be among the 5 percent lowest net-worth members of the Senate. It seems to me like full disclosure is something that ought to be sufficient.”

In 2020, Wicker reported that his wife owned between $1,001 and $15,000 in stock in Renasant Corp., a regional bank based in Tupelo, Mississippi.

As the midterms approach, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has changed her stance on banning lawmakers from making individual trade.

Last year, Pelosi adamantly defended lawmakers’ ability to trade individual stocks, telling reporters in December that “We are a free market. They should be able to participate in that,” when questioned about legislation to prevent individual stock picks by lawmakers.

At the time, Pelosi was under intense scrutiny after it was revealed her husband’s stock trades raked in millions.

However, her support for the legislation comes with a significant caveat, as she mentioned the rules would apply to the Supreme Court as well. “It has to be government-wide,” highlighting that, “The third branch of government, the judiciary, has no reporting.”

So far, two bills have been introduced to restrict trading by members of Congress.

A bipartisan bill sponsored by moderate Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Conservative GOP Rep. Chip Roy of Texas would require all members of Congress, their spouses, and dependent children to place certain investment assets in a blind trust within 90 days of the bill’s enactment.

Then on Wednesday, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana introduced a bipartisan Senate bill aimed at restricting stock trades.

If it goes into effect, the bill will ban members of Congress and their spouses from owning and trading individual bonds, stocks, commodities, futures, and other securities. However, the bill makes the contingency for lawmakers to trade mutual and exchange-traded funds provided there isn’t a conflict of interest.

Those who violate the legislation would face a penalty of up to $50,000 per violation.