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According to a Saturday report, Democratic senator Jon Ossoff wants to prohibit members of Congress from trading stocks while serving.
According to the New York Post, Senator Ossoff is seeking a Republican co-sponsor to back his ethics legislation, which would bar members of Congress and their families from participating in the stock market for the duration of their Congressional terms.
Among his own party members, Ossoff is likely to face strong opposition.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opposes crackdowns on members of Congress who trade stocks. Her husband alone made millions in individual stock trades just last month.
As the youngest senator, Ossoff is 34 years old. In addition, he is only one of 10 sitting members of Congress — out of 535 voting members — who have placed their financial assets in a qualified blind trust, a Congressionally-approved arrangement where a member of Congress transfers control over their assets to an independent entity.
It is also reported that his legislation might force his colleagues to do so as well.
There are few safeguards in place on Congress’ private dollars besides the 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act), which makes it illegal for lawmakers to use non-public information for private gain and requires them to disclose stock and bond transactions within 45 days.
At a mid-December press conference, Pelosi completely rejected any ban on legislators’ market activity.
‘We’re a free market economy,’ the Speaker told reporters on December 15. ‘They [lawmakers] should be able to participate in that.’
Several legislators faced accusations of profiting from the stock market just before the economy collapsed, upending millions of Americans’ lives, during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Senators Dianne Feinstein, James Inhofe, Richard Burr, and former senator Kelly Loeffler were all investigated by the Justice Department in response to the allegations. The justice department has now closed all four investigations.
A Business Insider report found that 49 legislators and 182 congressional staffers violated the STOCK Act by failing to report their trades on time between January and September 2021.
In the same probe, more than 220 other members of Congress held a combined sum of $225 million in stock assets during 2020, roughly 40 percent of the entire Congress.
On March 29, the Ban Conflicted Trading Act was introduced in the Senate, similar to Ossoff’s. In contrast, the limit on trading does not apply to spouses or other family members as set forth by Ossoff.
Consequently, if the bill passes, Pelosi’s husband Paul Pelosi will have the ability to continue trading.
Pelosi’s husband purchased stock in Alphabet worth between $500,001 and $1 million two days after she shot down a trading ban at her press conference last month. Also, he purchased shares of Disney between $100,001 and $250,000.
After that, on Dec. 20, he purchased two Salesforce subscriptions – one worth between $100,001 and $250,000, and another worth between $500,001 and $1 million, and one Roblox subscription worth between $250,001 and $500,000.
A purchase of Micron Technology stock worth between $250,001 and $500,000 was made on Dec. 21, and a purchase of Reoff XX worth between $50,000 and $100,000 occurred on Dec. 22.
Between $1,750,007 and $3,600,000 worth of stock was purchased by Paul Pelosi over a five-day period.
In fact, he has established himself as a prolific stock trader to the extent that social investing app Iris allows users to track his trades and be notified whenever he makes a purchase, enabling them to do the same.
‘Every single stock she [Pelosi, through her husband] has bought in the last two years has gone up significantly,’ Christopher Josephs, cofounder of Iris, told Yahoo.
Also banned from Twitter is @NancyTracker, a popular Twitter account that tracked Pelosi’s investments.
According to Pelosi’s spokesperson, Drew Hammill, all the recent trades were made by the speaker’s husband and she does not own any stocks.
Hammill told DailyMail.com that Pelosi has no prior knowledge of or involvement in any transactions.
‘The STOCK Act exists to shine a bright light on trades by Members of Congress. Sunlight is the best disinfectant,’ Hammill said.