A bipartisan coalition of House members has introduced a proposal aimed at restoring public trust by prohibiting legislators from capitalizing on privileged information. This plan seeks to disallow members of Congress from possessing and engaging in individual stock ownership and trading.
The legislation has garnered support from a bipartisan group of representatives, including Republican lawmakers Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), as well as Democratic representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL).
The Bipartisan Restoring Faith in Government Act puts forth a provision that prohibits members of Congress, along with their spouses and dependents, from engaging in financial investments. However, the bill does permit investments in widely-held investment funds, Treasury bonds and contributions to the government’s retirement plan. This legislation represents the latest effort in a series of proposed bills aimed at tackling this issue over the past few years.
Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement, “The ability to individually trade stock erodes the public’s trust in government. When Members have access to classified information, we should not be trading in the stock market on it. It’s really that simple.”
Gaetz expressed agreement with Ocasio-Cortez, emphasizing that concerns regarding insider trading continue to cast a shadow over the legislative process.
Gaetz said, “Members of Congress are spending their time trading futures instead of securing the future of our fellow Americans. Congress will never regain the trust of the American people. Our responsibility in Congress is to serve the people, not hedge bets on the stock market.”
Congress should be less Compromised https://t.co/9mks5sO8Fj
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) May 2, 2023
Fitzpatrick acknowledged the unusual occurrence of finding common ground between typically opposing caucuses within the House of Representatives.
He said, “The fact that Members of the Progressive Caucus, the Freedom Caucus and the Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, reflecting the entirety of the political spectrum, can find common ground on key issues like this should send a powerful message to America.”
The proposed legislation sets a 90-day timeframe for members to divest their stock holdings, with the added requirement of obtaining prior permission from House ethics officers for any blind trust.
Given the substantial holdings of numerous members from both Republican and Democratic parties, it is anticipated that the bill will face opposition.
Under the STOCK Act of 2012, members are currently allowed to buy and sell stocks, provided they disclose their transactions and refrain from leveraging insider information.