October 6, 2022

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U.S. House Democrats eye ban on stock trading in Congress -Punchbowl

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U.S. House Democrats are seeking to ban members of Congress and other top congressional staff from trading stocks by year’s end, the Punchbowl news outlet reported on Wednesday, citing sources involved in the discussions.

House Administration Committee chairwoman Representative Zoe Lofgren is compiling recommendations, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top House Democratic leaders having the final say on how and when to proceed, it reported.

Representatives for Pelosi and Lofgren did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. Pelosi is scheduled to hold her weekly news conference at 10:45 a.m. (1545 GMT).

U.S. lawmakers’ trading of individual stocks, including Pelosi’s, has come under increasing scrutiny, in part as social media users pay growing attention to their investments.

Some individual lawmakers’ investments have also raised questions over possible conflicts of interest given that Congress’ oversight duties can allow it to get information ahead of the public, with some members facing investigation or charges.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday said he also supported a ban on stock trading, telling reporters: “I would like to see it done.”

Schumer added that there are several competing proposals and that he asked Democratic senators to coalesce around one bill.

Democrats hold the majority in Congress, but House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy told Punchbowl in January that he also backed the effort, which comes ahead of the November midterm congressional election that will decide which political party will control each chamber.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell separately told reporters on Tuesday that he had not yet weighed a possible ban but would consider any legislation.

“I haven’t given that any serious thought yet,” he said, adding that he does not own any individual stocks and advises members to invest via mutual funds as he does. “I think it prevents such suggestions that you are going to be engaged in insider trading.”

U.S. lawmakers are legally required to file disclosures of their stock trades. It was not yet clear how any potential changes would deal with complicated issues such as family members’ holdings or stocks held before entering Congress.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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