House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is now open to tougher restrictions on stock trading for members of Congress.
At the end of last year, Pelosi — whose husband, Paul, frequently trades large volumes of assets — dodged questions as to why lawmakers should be allowed to trade stocks in individual companies given lawmakers’ high degree of restricted knowledge relevant to public markets. “Because this is a free market and people — we are a free market economy,” Pelosi said when pressed by reporters. “They should be able to participate in that.”
During a Thursday press conference, however, Pelosi said that she has “great confidence in the integrity of my members” — yet will remain open to new regulations.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she doesn’t support a “blanket attitude” of banning members of Congress from trading stocks. pic.twitter.com/wtnf5RLUsc
— The Recount (@therecount) January 20, 2022
“I do come down always in favor of trusting our members,” she explained. “If the impression that is given by some that somebody is doing insider trading, that’s a Justice Department issue … and that has no place in any of this.”
“But to give a blanket attitude of ‘we can’t do this and we can’t do that,’ because we can’t be trusted, I just don’t buy into that,” she continued. “But if members want to do that, I’m okay with that.”
Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that President Joe Biden will let members of Congress determine their own rules for individual stock trading.
“The president didn’t trade individual stocks when he was a senator, that is how we approached things,” Psaki said. “He also believes that everyone should be held to the highest standard, but he’ll let the leadership in Congress … determine what the rule should be.”
In addition to Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is proposing legislation to tighten insider trading regulations for members of Congress.
“Year after year, politicians somehow manage to outperform the market, buying and selling millions in stocks of companies they’re supposed to be regulating,” Hawley said in a statement. “Wall Street and Big Tech work hand-in-hand with elected officials to enrich each other at the expense of the country.”
According to Axios, negotiations between Ossoff and Hawley’s offices “fizzled out.” While Ossoff’s bill would ban dependent children from investing, Hawley’s bill would not; Hawley’s bill would charge the Government Accountability Office with providing oversight, which Ossoff’s bill leaves to congressional ethics committees.
As the debate over lawmakers’ stock trades has unfolded, several prominent voices have weighed in — including that of podcast host Joe Rogan.
“They make their money when they get out,” Rogan said of politicians after they leave office. “What it is is [it’s] like an investment, if you get out you will have money for speaking engagements with all the companies that you helped, all the companies that you like, ‘Hey, I like you. I like you. Let’s hang out, let’s party.’ They’re like, ‘Hey, Mike. Mike the former president, we’d love to have you come speak at our conference, and we’re willing to pay you a half a million dollars.’ So this [it’s] like weird bribes.”