House Democrats are close to introducing a ban on stock trading for members of Congress, their spouses, and senior staff members, Punchbowl News first reported, citing multiple unnamed sources.
Insider has independently confirmed from two congressional sources close to the negotiations that the House intends to move forward after months of slow-burn deliberations, which included a congressional hearing in April.
The ban would make these lawmakers, spouses, and staffers choose between putting their assets in a blind trust giving up control to an independent third party or selling them altogether, Punchbowl reported.
The 2012 law was designed to combat insider trading by requiring timely disclosure of stock transactions, but is widely flouted.
Democrats plan to unveil their plan in early August, Punchbowl reported, with the potential for votes in Congress in September.
The plan would still let lawmakers hold mutual funds, per Punchbowl.
“We’re almost ready to move forward on this,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the chair of the House Administration Committee, told Punchbowl on Wednesday.
“Public office is a public trust. It is my personal view that there should be regulation, or cessation, with respect to members and their spouses owning or trading stocks and other financial instruments,” Lofgren told Insider in a statement. “For the past months, I have been seeking to build consensus on this issue so we can move forward. Having considered substantial input from our hearing and reviewed a range of legislative proposals, I hope to release a legislative framework for public review in the coming weeks.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, tweeted today: “We are so close and making progress! Keep up the pressure everyone!”
For one: a group of senators has, on a parallel track, been working for months toward its own consensus stock-ban bill but has yet to agree on a formal proposal. Sticking points, such as whether to allow lawmakers the right to retain existing stock holdings, could crop up.
Time is also running short. Both the House and Senate will leave Washington, DC, in August, giving them limited time, in the midst of the 2022 midterm elections, to act before the end of the current congressional session.
“This process has drawn on far too long and it didn’t need to be this way,” said Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, government affairs manager at the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight, which supports a congressional stock ban. “We got the initial slew of bills in January/February this year and yet, here we sit, with no vote on a stock trading bill in either chamber and the clock is seriously ticking.”
Hedtler-Gaudette said that unless the House and Senate both move quickly ideally with the “active participation” of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer “it’s hard to see how they can do it post-recess, given all the remaining legislative business and the midterms taking up bandwidth and resources.”
Nevertheless, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been under pressure from Democrats and Republicans alike to back a stock ban.
In addition to identifying dozens of lawmakers who violated the STOCK Act, Insider’s “Conflicted Congress” investigation found dozens more lawmakers whose personal stock trades are discordant with their public responsibilities.
This article was originally published at 7:13 a.m. July 28 and has been updated to include new details about a congressional stock-ban proposal.