Eric Lee/Paul/Getty Images
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, who opposed new legislation that would ban members of Congress from trading individual stocks, indicated Thursday that she is open to developing it — if it has the support of her party caucus.
“I’m not buying that, but if the members want to do it, I’m OK with it,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference.
The spokeswoman said she does not believe the move is necessary because she trusts her colleagues and that current laws require regular disclosure. “I have great confidence in the integrity of my members,” Pelosi said.
However, she asked the House Management Committee to review the Stock Act, the law that requires members to regularly report trades and report within 45 days, and said she was open to increasing fines for lawmakers who fail to meet deadlines. She added that the committee is reviewing all proposed bills for new reforms.
Pelosi said that if there were concerns that a member was involved in insider trading, “that’s a matter for the Department of Justice.” Existing laws give prosecutors the ability to charge lawmakers with insider trade.
In recent weeks, there has been a renewed push by members in both parties to prevent lawmakers from picking individual stocks. Several bills have been proposed in the House and Senate. Some will cover only members of Congress, while others will apply the ban to spouses and family members.
Pelosi does not trade stocks, but her husband, Paul Pelosi, does, and many investors follow his regular reports submitted under current rules closely, who say his profitable decisions made by his track record are worth copying. A recent NPR story indicates that some have created notifications that younger investors on TikTok will follow when their reports are published.
Recently, Republican Party leader Kevin McCarthy of California said he supports the idea and is looking into details. Republicans on Capitol Hill are divided on this issue. Some say the current system of public disclosure is adequate, and others say that public opinion of Congress is so low that any action that removes any semblance of conflict makes sense.
Pelosi wants to extend disclosure rules to the Supreme Court
Pelosi noted that while the legislature has rules for disclosing investment transactions, US Supreme Court justices do not.
She said decisions made in the Supreme Court affect “every topic you can name”.
“I don’t think the court should get away with it,” the spokesperson said. She referred to recent comments by Chief Justice John Roberts, which alluded to reports that judges had avoided any manifestations of conflicts of interest.
Pelosi made it clear that any new legislation would include provisions adding new rules to the Supreme Court. “Whenever we go ahead with anything, let’s take the Supreme Court with us for disclosure,” she said.
The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill in December that added disclosure rules for federal judges, but the Senate did not take action.