Watch: Pelosi rejects idea of banning Congressional members from purchasing stock
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is rejecting the idea of barring congressional members and their spouses from purchasing and trading stock despite the initiative receiving support from Democratic lawmakers.
On Wednesday, December 15, the top-ranking Democrat, who does not personally own stock, weighed in on the debate during her weekly press conference. The California Democrat argued that lawmakers should be allowed to own stock but only if they are in compliance with disclosure requirements detailed under the STOCK Act; a stipulation put in place to promote transparency.
"This is a free market and people — we are a free market economy. They should be able to participate in that," Pelosi said.
"We're a free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that." -- Pelosi's rationale for why spouses of members of Congress should be able to trade individuals stocks is not very convincingpic.twitter.com/NuOw0VznVm— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1639585173
Pelosi's remarks follow arguments from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) who strongly opposes lawmakers having the option to own stock. On December 7, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her concerns.
"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."
It is absolutely ludicrous that members of Congress can hold and trade individual stock while in office. \n\nThe access and influence we have should be exercised for the public interest, not our profit. It shouldn\u2019t be legal for us to trade individual stock with the info we have.https://twitter.com/JStein_WaPo/status/1468324311656194051\u00a0\u2026— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1638928342
Ocasio-Cortez has also noted that she personally does not own stock because she believes its a way to remain neutral on stock policies. Although Pelosi also does not own stock, her husband Paul Pelosi is a known investor. Due to his sizable stock portfolio, his wife is considered one of the wealthiest congressional members, per Business Insider.
So far, a total of 14 Congressional members and three of Pelosi's aides have all violated some aspects of the STOCK Act. On Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) spoke with Insider to express concern about the "brazenness" of lawmakers as she insisted stricter law enforcement and consequences are needed for violations.
"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."