Democrats Rushing to Ban Stock Trading by Lawmakers A general view of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., on March 28. (Graeme Sloan/AP)
By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 07 April 2022 09:35 AM
Democrat senators were making a desperate attempt to ban members of Congress from trading stocks as the midterms approached, The Hill reported.
Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., were working to pass legislation, which had not been agreed upon due to differing opinions on how broad to make the bill, The Hill said.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., has insisted on expanding a stock-trading ban to include senior executive branch officials, members of the judiciary and Federal Reserve board members, The Hill reported.
Gillibrand's legislation would require covered officials and staff – as well as spouses and dependents — to report anything of value received from the federal government.
However, some Democrats aren't sure a larger reform bill can pass.
Merkley, Ossoff, Gillibrand and Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., were working to craft consensus legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., wants caucus members to resolve their differences before bringing something to the floor, The Hill reported.
Many Republicans oppose a stock trading ban, saying it would be difficult to implement, create a new disincentive for public service and complicate the lives of congressional spouses, The Hill said.
"I don't think that's a good idea," Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said, The Hill reported. "The bottom line is we already have the Stock Act."
The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 became law and was designed to combat insider trading.
Retiring Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said: "I'm not going to make it harder for people to serve."
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said a stock-trading ban would be "very difficult to implement."
"Such legislation would be meaningless unless it included your spouse, because people can transfer back and forth between oneself and one's spouse, and yet banning one's spouse from being able to trade … is also patently unfair," Romney said, The Hill reported. "I think it's very difficult to figure out a way to make that work."
Warren and Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., in February introduced the Ban on Congressional Stock Ownership Act, which would ban members of Congress and their spouses from trading stocks and also would require them to put their assets in a blind trust.
Under a bipartisan bill by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chris Coons, D-Del., approved by the Senate this week, federal judges would have to publicly disclose more about their finances.
House Administration Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., is heading the House work on the stock-trading ban issue.
"There's a whole bunch of different bills with different approaches and so we're going to become better educated," she said, The Hill reported.