The U.S. House of Representatives could vote next week on a ban on congressional stock trading
- House Democrats just staged a potential vote next week on a ban on congressional stock trading.
- Top Democrats have told their colleagues that the legislation will most likely include Supreme Court justices.
- This inclusion – along with the short time members will have to consider the bill – may signal danger.
House Democratic leaders announced Thursday that the chamber could consider legislation barring members of Congress from trading stocks as early as next week.
Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York — the Democratic Caucus Chairman — announced on the floor of the House Thursday afternoon that the body “may consider legislation to reform the STOCK Act.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi previously indicated that a bill could be introduced in September.
In a “Dear Colleague” letter sent Thursday and obtained by Insider, Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, chair of the House Administration Committee, posted a frame titled “Addressing Financial Conflicts of Interest and Restoring Public Faith and Trust in Government”.
“Throughout the federal government, there have been significant stories regarding financial conflicts of interest related to stock trading and ownership,” Lofgren wrote. “Collectively, these stories undermine the faith and trust of the American people in the integrity of public servants and our federal government.
The framework includes much of what prominent advocates of stock ban legislation have called for, such as the inclusion of spouses and dependent children in any potential ban.
However, Lofgren’s framework includes Supreme Court justices, a provision some advocates see as a potential “poison pill” intended to ensure that legislation cannot be passed by the Senate.
The framework also calls for increasing the penalty for violating the STOCK Act from a paltry $200 to $1,000 for each 30-day period a member of Congress does not comply, and calls for greater transparency around law enforcement.
“A number of bills that have been introduced to date address some of these issues and include thoughtful proposals, but no bill addresses each of these four elements in this level of detail,” Lofgren wrote. “I will soon introduce the legislative text of a bill built on this framework for reform.”
As of Thursday evening, the full text of the bill had not been made public.
The House is voting for just 3 days next week, leaving MPs with little time to consider the new legislation.
The last-minute push to pass a congressional stock trading ban comes after months of members pressuring leaders to act, as well as Insider’s “Conflicted Congress” investigation, which found dozens of congressmen in violation of the STOCK Act and sparked widespread calls for reform.
Several prominent supporters of the stock trading ban recently told Insider that they have been largely left out of Democratic leaders’ legislative plans.
Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley told Insider last week that the Senate’s version of a stock trading ban is not expected to arrive until the midterm elections in November, although the senator continue to engage with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on the matter.