Pelosi signals support for ban on stock trades by members of Congress – Boston Herald

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WASHINGTON — A longstanding push to ban stock trading by members of Congress got new life Wednesday when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated she may support new rules, if they apply to a lot of people in government.
“It has to be governmentwide,” Pelosi told reporters at a weekly news conference. “The judiciary has no reporting. The Supreme Court has no disclosure. It has no reporting of stock transactions, and it makes important decisions every day.”
Pelosi said House Democrats are reviewing proposals and could bring something before members soon.
“We’ve tasked the House Administration Committee to review the options that members are putting forth,” she said. “We’ll go forward with what the consensus is.”
Asked if something could pass this year, Pelosi said, “I assume they will have it pretty soon.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday said he backed the idea.
“We have different bills from a variety of different members, and I’ve asked our members to get together and try to come up with one bill,” Schumer told reporters. “I would like to see it done.”
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said he hasn’t yet given much thought to banning trading, but added that he has invested in mutual funds rather than individual stocks.
“That’s what I advise members to do because I think it prevents such suggestions that you are engaged in insider trading,” he said. “We’ll take a look at that kind of legislation and see what may be appropriate.”
Proposals to ban lawmakers from holding individual securities have percolated in Congress for years without getting very far.
In the past several weeks, however, in the wake of revelations about tardy disclosures by members and stock trading by Federal Reserve officials, Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate have proposed new legislation.
Current law prohibits members of Congress and other government employees from using nonpublic information for personal benefit and requires disclosure of securities trades by members, spouses or dependent children of more than $1,000. Critics say the law is too easily skirted, the disclosure requirements too loosely enforced and the penalties too lenient.
“No one should ever have to wonder whether their Member of Congress is working for the public interest or their own financial interest,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said, touting her Bipartisan Ban on Congressional Stock Ownership Act.
Sen. Jon Ossoff, a Georgia Democrat spearheading another effort, said he hopes to see swift action in the Senate.
“This is like a five-page bill,” Ossoff said. “This is not complex. So let’s hammer it out. Let’s put it on the floor in the next few weeks. Let’s keep it moving.”
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