- Speaker Pelosi rejected the idea of barring Congress members and their spouses from trading stocks.
- “We are free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that,” she said.
- Progressives, such as Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have called for such bans.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday rejected the idea of barring members of Congress and their spouses from holding or trading individual stocks while in office.
“We are a free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that,” Pelosi said when asked by Insider at her weekly press conference.
Insider also asked Pelosi about Conflicted Congress, a five-month-long investigation by Insider that found that 49 members of Congress and 182 senior congressional staffers had violated the STOCK Act, a law to prevent Insider trading.
The speaker said she hadn’t yet seen the project, but added that it’s important that members comply with the law.
“If people aren’t reporting, they should be,” she said.
—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 15, 2021
Pelosi’s position put her at odds with progressives such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both of whom have called for barring members of Congress from trading stocks while in office.
“It is absolutely ludicrous that members of Congress can hold and trade individual stock while in office,” Ocasio-Cortez recently tweeted. “The access and influence we have should be exercised for the public interest, not our profit. It shouldn’t be legal for us to trade individual stock with the info we have.”
And on Tuesday, Warren told Insider that she had seen Insider’s investigation, calling out the “brazenness” of members and staffers trading stocks even while having access to privileged knowledge.
“We need both tougher laws and enforcement of those laws,” the Massachusetts Democrat said. “The American people should never have to guess whether or not an elected official is advancing an issue or voting on a bill based on what’s good for the country or what’s good for their own personal financial interests.”
When asked about progressives’ position on the issue, Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for Pelosi, signaled that the speaker preferred a transparency-focused approach to insider trading.
“The STOCK Act exists to shine a bright light on trades by members of Congress,” Hammill said. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
Pelosi’s husband, investor Paul Pelosi, frequently trades significant numbers of stocks. With her husband’s assets considered, Pelosi ranks among the wealthiest members of Congress, an Insider analysis found.
“The speaker does not own any stocks,” Hammill said. “As you can see from the required disclosures, with which the speaker fully cooperates, these transactions are marked ‘SP’ for spouse. The speaker has no prior knowledge or subsequent involvement in any transactions.”
Insider has identified numerous examples of federal lawmakers trading stocks in industries they oversee as part of their congressional committee assignments, including within the defense, healthcare, and energy industries.