Politics, they say, makes strange bedfellows.
But to think that Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and uber-conservative Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) would join forces over … well, anything … is something few who follow Capitol Hill could have ever predicted.
Gaetz and AOC, along with a couple other lawmakers, have introduced the bipartisan Restoring Faith in Government Act, which would prohibit financial investments by members of Congress, their spouses and any dependents.
“The ability to individually trade stock erodes the public’s trust in government,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “When Members have access to classified information, we should not be trading in the stock market on it. It’s really that simple.”
“Members of Congress,” Gaetz said, “are spending their time trading futures instead of securing the future of our fellow Americans. We cannot allow the Swamp to prioritize investing in stocks over investing in our country.”
“As long as concerns about insider trading hang over the legislative process, 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,” the Florida lawmaker said.
The bipartisan bill comes as numerous lawmakers reportedly sold their shares in First Republic Bank in just weeks before the firm collapsed and was sold to JPMorgan Chase by financial regulators.
First Republic Bank imploded on Monday, weeks after Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank similarly collapsed, as account holders with balances above the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation threshold rushed to withdraw their funds.
Periodic transaction disclosure forms reveal that multiple lawmakers jettisoned their shares in First Republic Bank or acquired shares in JPMorgan Chase over the past two months, a phenomenon which follows accusations that some lawmakers routinely buy stocks at opportune times and cut losses by selling shares, the Daily Wire reported on Wednesday.
The lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, who sold shares of First Republic Bank avoided heavy losses: the firm’s stock fell from $121.54 at the beginning of the year to $3.51 at the time of the collapse.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as speaker of the House vehemently fought against banning lawmakers from trading stocks — for good reason. Pelosi and her husband have made millions since she took office.
This past January, the couple sold more than $1.5 million in Alphabet stock. Then guess what happened? The Department of Justice announced an antitrust lawsuit against the tech giant earlier this month.
The Pelosis sold 30,000 shares of Alphabet, the parent company for Google and other firms, on Dec. 20, 21, and 28. The pair received between $1.5 million and $3 million for the total sale, according to a financial disclosure form Mrs. Pelosi filed on Jan. 12. The DOJ announced its lawsuit against Alphabet on Jan. 23.
And between 2007 and 2020, Mrs. Pelosi and her husband saw their stock portfolio’s worth soar by as much as $30 million. Paul Pelosi’s net worth is said to be more than $120 million, mostly due to his holdings in technology stocks.
“When Members of Congress trade individual stocks, people are right to question whether their decisions are for the public good or their own personal benefit,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “During the height of COVID, we saw senators leave briefings and trade stocks — even investing in body bags.”
“Members of Congress often get detailed briefings the public may not have access to for days, weeks, or even months. This information can be about investigations, hearings, policy changes, supply chain issues, new technologies — or even as we’ve seen these past few years — global pandemics and looming bank failures,” she said.
“But all too often, we’ve seen that instead of using this information to help American families, Members of Congress have used their positions to make lucrative stock trading decisions that benefit themselves,” AOC said.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.