Home Should Members of Congress be able to use inside information to buy, sell stocks?
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Should Members of Congress be able to use inside information to buy, sell stocks?

Chris Graham
us politics congress
(© Toshe – stock.adobe.com)

Members of Congress shouldn’t be able to trade individual stocks. Simple as that. What they do daily in Congress making laws gives them too much inside information.

This is the foundation of another legislative effort being led by Virginia Democrat Abigail Spanberger and Texas Republican Chip Roy.

Their bipartisan bill would requires Members of Congress — as well as their spouses and dependent children — to put certain investment assets into a qualified blind trust during their entire tenure in Congress, effectively banning them from trading individual stocks.

The Spanberger-Roy Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust in Congress Act would make sure Members of Congress cannot use their positions in the U.S. House or U.S. Senate to inform investment decisions, influence the value of their existing investments, or contribute to greater distrust between the American people and their elected officials.

Seems like this should be a slam dunk, but this is the third time Spanberger and Roy have introduced what they have styled the TRUST in Congress Act.

Similar legislation failed in 2020 and 2021.

This time around, the bill has 35 co-sponsors signed on, with the familiar names including Scott Perry (R-PA-10), Jerry Nadler (D-NY-12), Adam Schiff (D-CA-30), Katie Porter (D-CA-47), Pete Sessions (R-TX-17), and Matt Gaetz (R-FL-01).

“We are long overdue for a vote on legislation to ban Members of Congress and their spouses from trading individual stocks. Last Congress, we saw the TRUST in Congress Act receive the most bipartisan support of any effort to do so. We saw tremendous momentum, we saw growing support in our districts, and we saw growing recognition across the political spectrum that such a reform needs to be made now,” said Spanberger (D-VA-07).

“I’ve been proud to lead the charge on this issue, and I want to thank my colleague Congressman Roy for his continued partnership as we reduce potential conflicts of interest in the halls of the U.S. Capitol. Our TRUST in Congress Act would demonstrate that lawmakers are focused on serving the interests of the American people — not their own stock portfolios,” Spanberger said.

Endorsements

The TRUST in Congress Act is endorsed by several advocacy and government accountability organizations across the political spectrum — including the Project On Government Oversight, National Taxpayers Union, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Public Citizen, Campaign Legal Center, Taxpayers for Common Sense, FreedomWorks, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Protect Democracy, Americans for Prosperity, Government Accountability Project, Issue One, PEER, Democracy12, Fix the Court, and ECU Action Fund.

“NTU is pleased to endorse the TRUST in Congress Act again, and we appreciate the ongoing leadership of this effort by Representatives Roy and Spanberger. Members of Congress hold privileged positions of power and access to classified information, and should not be able buy, sell, and trade individual stocks during their time of service,” said Andrew Lautz, Director of Federal Policy, National Taxpayers Union.

“When Members of Congress trade stocks while they’re receiving privileged information during hearings and closed-door briefings from industry leaders, they erode the public’s trust and create the appearance of corruption, something that is worth guarding against as much as corruption itself,” said Nick Penniman, founder and CEO, Issue One. “That’s why Congress should ban Members and their immediate family members from trading individual stocks while in office. The TRUST in Congress Act is a commonsense solution that has received strong bipartisan support, and it’s time for our leaders to act and pass this bill into law.”

“Voters have a right to know whether their elected officials are focused on the needs of the public, or are prioritizing their own personal wealth,” said Kedric Payne, Vice President, General Counsel and Senior Director, Ethics, Campaign Legal Center. “Based on how frequently and blatantly the 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act is violated by Members of Congress, it is obvious that the current situation is not working. By preventing Members of Congress, their spouses, and their dependent children from buying, trading, or selling individual stocks while in Congress, the TRUST in Congress Act will greatly improve this situation and restore public trust in government.”

“Banning members from owning or trading individual stocks is a concrete step Congress can take to reduce corruption and begin to restore the public’s faith in their elected officials. We applaud Rep. Spanberger’s leadership on this issue and encourage members of both parties to work with her to get this done,” said Tiffany Muller, President, End Citizens United / Let America Vote Action Fund.

“The TRUST in Congress Act is bipartisan legislation sponsored by Reps. Spanberger and Roy prohibiting congressional stock trading activity. The legislation leads the drive for this commonsense ethics reform,” said Craig Holman, Government Affairs, Public Citizen. “The current system that allows Members of Congress to buy and sell stocks in businesses they oversee from their congressional perches is ripe for insider trading abuses. Members frequently have access to business information that is not available to the public, and members are also in a position to affect those same business markets, which is why the public demands that congressional stock trading be banned altogether.”

“At a time when over 70 percent of Americans believe members of Congress hold an unfair advantage in the stock market, TPA applauds Rep. Abigail Spanberger and Rep. Chip Roy for reintroducing the TRUST In Congress Act,” said Patrick Hedger, Executive Director, Taxpayers Protection Alliance. “Requiring members to place securities, commodities, futures, and other comparable investments into qualified blind trusts while serving the American people is a strong step towards restoring the public’s faith in government.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].

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