Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi opposed the prohibition of members of Congress from buying stocks

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Speaker of the California House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, holds a weekly press conference at the Capitol Visitor Center on Wednesday, December 15, 2021.

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi mocked the idea of ​​prohibiting members of Congress and their spouses from owning stocks in individual companies on Wednesday, despite possible conflicts of interest between their legislative duties and personal finances.

“No,” Pelosi of California told reporters at a news conference. She was asked if she would support such a ban.

“We are a free market economy,” she said. “They should be able to participate.”

Pelosi dismissed the idea of ​​a stock purchase ban in response to questions related to this week’s Business Insider Investigation Report regarding legislators’ shareholding and the issues following the controversy over stock purchases by many senators since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Business Insider series found that 49 members of Congress and 182 senior members of Congress had violated the so-called STOCK Act, which requires themselves and their families to publicly disclose futures within 45 days of buying and selling individual stocks, bonds, and commodities.

The Stop Trading Congressional Knowledge Act, which became law in 2012, aims to prevent lawmakers and staff from using the information they collect from their work and conflicts of interest to conduct transactions.

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However, violations of stock laws, if sanctioned, usually only result in a fine of $200.

Pelosi said on Wednesday that “we have a responsibility to report” stock transactions.

The spokesperson said she was not familiar with the findings of the Business Insider series.

“But if people don’t report [stock trades], They should be,” Pelosi added.

Earlier on Monday, Gary Gensler, chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, called for stricter rules to restrict the company’s CEO and other executives’ stock trading.

In October, the Federal Reserve announced a broad ban on central bank officials from holding individual stocks and bonds.

The ban was issued after two Federal Reserve regional chairmen Robert Kaplan of Dallas and Eric Rosengren of Boston resigned after disclosing that they were trading personal securities in 2020. Their transaction comes at a time when the coronavirus is shaking up the market, and the Fed itself is buying large-scale assets designed to keep the market stable.

Lawmakers stock dispute

Many good government groups and some legislators have called for a ban on holding stocks or require members of Congress to place their financial assets in blind trusts during their tenure.

Allowing legislators to continue to own index funds that track financial market sectors is seen as a way for them to obtain a return on their investment while limiting the possibility of them benefiting from the information they obtain about individual companies or information that is deemed to do so.

In 2019, the then House of Representatives. Chris Collins, a registered nurse in New York State, pleaded guilty to federal charges that involved disclosing to his son non-public information he had obtained about a failed drug trial for a pharmaceutical company, and the public disclosure of that information made the company The stock is in chaos.

Over the years, Collins has been touting the prospects of Innate Therapeutics and serving on its board of directors, even if he serves in Congress.

Collins was Innate’s largest shareholder at the beginning of 2016, owning more than 17% of the company’s shares, or nearly 34 million shares. His children Cameron and Caitlin were once the third and fourth largest shareholders, each owning 2.65% of the company’s shares, or 5.2 million shares per share.

Collins, who has been serving 26 months in prison, was pardoned by President Donald Trump shortly before Trump’s resignation in December 2020. Collins was the first member of Congress to support Trump’s first White House campaign in 2016.

Last year, federal prosecutors investigated stock sales prior to the Covid-induced market crash. These people were related to Senator Richard Burr, RN.C., Senator Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and then Senator. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga. and Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

These investigations ended without filing criminal charges.

But the US Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting a civil investigation into whether Burr, his brother-in-law, Gerald Foss, and Foss’s wife were involved in insider trading in exchange for non-public information about Covid that Burr obtained in his work. Fauth is the chairman of the National Mediation Council, an agency responsible for promoting labor relations in the U.S. railroad and aviation industries.

In August, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky revealed for the first time in a disclosure report that his wife Kelly bought shares in the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences in early 2020. The day after the first clinical trial. The treatment of Covid-19.

Paul and his wife have never bought or invested in any company in the past ten years.

Paul’s disclosure was made 16 months after the statutory deadline for reporting under the stock law.

In July, Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville (Tommy Tuberville) disclosed the total value of stock and stock option transactions from January to May, with a total value of between US$894,000 and US$3.5 million.

Like Paul, Tuberville disclosed his information after the deadline set by the Stock Act expired.

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