Pelosi-Controlled Committee Blocks Votes on Congressional Stock Trading

Paul Pelosi would have to give up his stock trading if bipartisan bills on blind trusts were allowed to advance.

Pelosi-Controlled Committee Blocks Votes on Congressional Stock Trading
U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks at a weekly news conference on March 04, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Congress’ stock trades became a hot topic after several members of Congress were revealed to have sold or bought shares last February and March after receiving private briefings on the seriousness of the then-looming coronavirus threat. The transactions revealed how lawmakers can use their access to information for personal gain, as well as how the lawmaking process could be corrupted due to the conflicts of interest members’ stock investments pose. 

In the wake of those scandals, there’s been a growing movement—inside and outside of Congress—toward wanting to prohibit members of Congress and spouses with whom they share money from trading corporate stocks. Bills have been proposed in both chambers to address the issue, including proposals that would make members divest from corporate securities and others that would require such assets be held in blind trusts. 

Earlier this week, several House members tried to get their proposals attached to H.R. 1, the omnibus ethics, campaign finance, and voting rights bill that already has several provisions in it related to reducing congressional conflicts of interest. At least three amendments on stock ownership were submitted to the House Rules Committee by members who hoped the committee would agree to allow them to get a vote on the House floor. The most widely supported of these was an amendment from Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Chip Roy (R-Texas), co-sponsored by 5 other bipartisan House members, that would require senators and representatives, their spouses, and their dependent children to put stocks and other covered investments into blind trusts until after they are out of office. The amendment language mirrored Spanberger’s TRUST in Congress Act, which currently has 14 co-sponsors. 

But the Spanberger-Roy amendment was not one of the dozens of amendments that the committee allowed to advance to the floor for a vote. Neither was Rep. Angie Craig’s (D-Minn.) amendment to ban members from owning individual corporate stocks, or Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi’s (D-Ill.) amendment that would prohibit members from buying or selling such assets.