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Spanberger, colleagues push for vote on banning congressional stock trading

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The TRUST in Congress Act would require 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.

The legislation, which would effectively ban them from trading individual stocks, is led by U.S. Reps. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, Chip Roy of Texas and 73 Democrats and Republicans since it was reintroduced in January 2023.

Yesterday, the lawmakers sent a letter to encourage U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson and U.S. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to vote on the Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust (TRUST) in Congress Act.

“Americans across the political spectrum and across the country are tired of seeing headline after headline suggesting that lawmakers are profiting off their access to privileged information. For more than four years, I’ve led an effort to remove even the perception of impropriety by removing lawmakers’ ability to play the stock market — and I’ve been grateful for the support of Congressman Golden, Congressman Fitzpatrick, and dozens of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle,” Spanberger said. “As we enter the final stretch of the 118th Congress, I urge Speaker Johnson to build on our bipartisan momentum and bring bipartisan legislation to the U.S. House floor that would ban Members of Congress from trading individual stocks. Because Members of Congress should be focused on the people they serve — not their own stock portfolios.”

The lawmakers outlined strong, bipartisan public support for banning members of Congress from trading individual stocks. The lawmakers also reminded U.S. House leadership of their previous inclination to bring a congressional stock trading ban to the floor of the U.S. House for a vote.

“Recent investigations have found that 1 in 7 members violated the STOCK Act in the 117th Congress, 97 members traded stocks in companies impacted by their committee assignments from 2019 to 2021, and members outperformed the S&P 500 by 17.5 percent in 2022. It is abundantly clear that more is needed to stop this type of behavior that is not only unethical but also undermines the public trust in our democratic institutions,” the lawmakers wrote. “Fortunately, several bipartisan bills to prohibit members from owning or trading stocks have been introduced in the House. Our constituents across the political spectrum support these efforts. According to recent polling, 86 percent of Americans– including 87 percent of Republicans, 88 percent of Democrats, and 81 percent of Independents– support prohibiting members of Congress and their families from trading stocks.”

The lawmakers said that House leadership committed nearly two years ago to voting on a bill to reform stock trading practices for members of Congress.

“In a hyper-partisan political environment where American approval ratings of Congress are at an all-time low, this is a common-sense and bipartisan change, making it crystal clear that we come to Washington to serve our constituents, not to serve our own financial interests.”

Today, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators unveiled new legislation to ban members of Congress, their spouses and their dependent children from trading individual stocks.

“In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans across the country were reading headline after headline of members of Congress profiting off suspiciously timed trades. In the weeks, months, and years since, I’ve spearheaded a bipartisan effort to end lawmakers’ ability to use their positions for personal profit. Support for banning lawmakers from trading individual stocks is now at an all-time high. More than 70 lawmakers from across the ideological spectrum have backed my legislation — and momentum continues to grow,” Spanberger said in response to the U.S. Senate legislation.

She added that she is encouraged that the “bipartisan momentum move us toward enacting this long overdue, much-needed reform. It’s time for Speaker Johnson to do his part and bring bipartisan legislation before the U.S. House to finally get it done.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.