After stumbling right into the shit, Pelosi-- who will never allow a ban on congressional stock trading-- changed her public stance and said she'd go along with whatever the members want. She knows full well that most of the members of Congress-- nearly the entire Republican conference + the Republican wing of her own caucus (particularly the New Dems and Blue Dogs)-- will never go along with any kind of meaningful reform that will adversely impact their own ability to manipulate the system in a way that benefits their personal pocketbooks. The idea of Congress policing its own ethics has always been absurd.
Yesterday, Business Insider reported that the committee working on reform is up against corrupt conservatives whining that restrictions-- let alone an outright ban-- would restrict their "rights and freedoms." Right-wing Georgia crook Barry Loudermilk: "If we enact something like this, it will strip the rights and the freedoms of individuals, and everybody on this committee is a free American citizen that has rights...[I]f you look at the history of this institution right here, we have restricted members of Congress to where it's almost like you're afraid to move in any direction, because of the politicization of the ethics that's going on." Sounds like he was reading Pelosi's statement!
The committee's ranking Republican, Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois, said that legislative measures that propose lawmakers use qualified blind trusts to avoid potential conflicts of interest could be costly and time-consuming for members of Congress.
"I just don't believe that forcing middle-class members to divest their ownership portion of a family farm or to divest ownership in a business that their spouse may be a part of or their dependent children be apart of. I just think it's untenable," he said.
Pushing hardest for an outright ban on congressional stock trading are 3 lawmakers with working class roots: AOC (D-NY) and Joe Neguse (D-CO) in the House and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in the Senate. Fortune reported that they were among the lawmakers this week insisting that the 10 year old Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which was meant to bar members of Congress from using nonpublic information to inform trade, is ineffective and "does not go far enough, since legislators still routinely trade stocks and make money off their investments, which many see as a conflict of interest. The penalty for violating the STOCK Act is $200, a small fine that critics say isn’t much of a deterrent."
The 3 of them noted that members of Congress "have access to sensitive information the public does not, and sit on committees dictating policy. Even if lawmakers claim not to use their positions to personally profit, the public does not believe them, Ocasio-Cortez said during the press conference. That’s reason enough to ban members from trading." Click this image and listen to AOC's point:
Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Wall Street-friendly Illinois New Dem, is hardly an avatar of ethics reform... but he knows how to read polls, and a very surly, pissed-off public is demanding a lot more from Congress than conservatives are willing to conceive. This morning, The Hill published an OpEd-- aimed at members of Congress-- under Krishnamoorthi's byline, Reforming Congressional Stock Trading Is a Bipartisan Issue, It's Time To Stop Playing Games And Get It Done. And he starts by citing recent polls showing that trust in the federal government is "at a dismal 24%" and that faith in Congress is even worse. "And," he wrote, "it’s easy to see why. This year, it took us five months to pass the annual federal budget. Gridlock, polarization, and distrust in institutions are at an all-time high, and there’s no easy fix. However, there is one big issue that has a significant impact on public trust, which we could fix this year. That’s member stock trading... This is not a Republican problem, or a Democratic problem. It’s a corruption problem-- and there is an increasing chorus of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who are calling for change, now!"
Now both Pelosi and McCarthy are pretending they back reform but everyone in DC that neither of them would ever allow real reform to move through Congress. Krishnamoorthi wrote that "I know that many of my Republican colleagues genuinely want to act on this issue, and this should be, by all accounts, a bipartisan issue. But just as we get close to meaningful reform, Republican leadership is changing their tune. In a congressional hearing on member stock trading, scheduled for April 7, 2022, Republicans have chosen to call on the testimony of Jennifer Schulp, director of Financial Regulation Studies at the CATO Institute, who has astonishingly argued that insider trading is actually good for society, claiming that 'prohibitions on insider trading already harm market efficiency.' That’s right, instead of calling on a serious witness to address corruption, Republicans have decided on a witness who wants to end restrictions on insider trading altogether." Surprise! Surprise!
Kevin McCarthy claims that he would end insider trading in Congress, if only he were in power, but his caucus is calling on witnesses who believe that insider trading is actually good. Why should anyone believe that McCarthy would address the issue at all if he became Speaker?
Leader McCarthy should listen to the voters—including 78 percent of Republicans-- who believe that Members of Congress should not be able to trade stocks while in office.
I call on my Republican colleagues to stop these partisan games and join me in prohibiting members of Congress from buying and selling individual stocks. It’s high time that we end this practice and restore American trust in elected leaders and our federal government.
We have a chance-- now-- to get this one thing right for the American people and ensure that public good, not personal profits, drives decision-making in the United States Capitol. Let’s get this done.
Pelosi and McCarthy are-- in great part-- a reflection of their members. To get real reform done, incumbent foot draggers on both sides of the aisle have to be defeated. Look for candidates who aren't into creating loopholes for themselves to drive through. I like Missouri Senate candidate Lucas Kunce's attitude about congressional stock trading... especially the last line: