Campaign to Ban Members of Congress from Stock Trading Heats Up

Momentum Grows in Movement to Prohibit Stock Trading by Congress Members

In 2023, a revealing study showed that politicians engaged in stock trades exceeding $1 billion, sparking a strong push for a ban on stock trading by congressional leaders. This practice has faced criticism for a long time.

A law known as the ETHICS Act has gained some support among Congress members. However, it requires more backers to become official, as reported by the Daily Mail on Sunday.

Nancy Pelosi, the former House Speaker, is among those who have profited from stock trading. Reports suggest she made trades close to $100 million since 2019, with her returns in 2023 reaching 65 percent, according to the Mail.

Mark Green, the Republican chair of the Homeland Security Committee, saw gains of 122.2 percent, highlighting the significant profits some politicians have made.

The trading community Unusual Whales, alongside the anti-corruption group RepresentUs, is campaigning against this practice. They argue that politicians should not be allowed to own or trade stocks to avoid conflicts of interest and decisions driven by personal financial gains.

In January, Unusual Whales shared an infographic that detailed the trading activities of politicians in 2023. According to their findings, US politicians have consistently outperformed the market since 2020, with many making unusually timed trades that led to substantial gains.

Joshua Graham Lynn, CEO of RepresentUs, expressed his frustration with these trading practices. He finds it unacceptable that Congress members can profit from the stock market while many Americans struggle financially. He emphasized the need for change, noting that the majority of Americans are against such practices.

Peter Schweizer, author and president of the Government Accountability Institute, reported in 2013 on insider trading within Congress. He highlighted the case of Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), who decided not to seek reelection after an investigation. Schweizer’s book, “Throw Them All Out,” and a partnered investigation with 60 Minutes, exposed insider trading by Pelosi and Bachus, leading to the STOCK Act, which aimed to prevent insider trading among Congress members.

Despite these efforts, Bachus faced significant legal expenses but was cleared of charges by his colleagues. This situation underscores the challenges in addressing insider trading and the need for stricter regulations.

In February 2023, Rep. Zach Nunn (R-IA) introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at preventing Congress members and their spouses from holding or trading individual stocks. This move, reported by Breitbart News, represents a step towards eliminating insider trading practices among politicians.