Ossoff to Intro Bill to Ban Members of Congress and Their Spouses From Trading Stocks

Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) is planning a bill to ban stock trading by federal lawmakers and their spouses, but it faces an uphill battle this year.

Ossoff to Intro Bill to Ban Members of Congress and Their Spouses From Trading Stocks
U.S. Sen. John Ossoff (D-Ga.) (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made headlines last year with the multimillion dollar stock trades of her husband, investor Paul Pelosi, who among other plays exercised call options on Google stock in June that locked in $5.3 million in gains. Not done, the Pelosis purchased millions more in call options from December 17-21, just days after she defended the practice of stock trading by members of Congress in a press conference.

Another congressional spouse outdid Paul Pelosi’s Google call last year, in terms of the highest dollar amount transacted in a single company’s stock. That distinction belongs to Kurt DelBene, a former Microsoft executive who in December was confirmed by the Senate as CIO and assistant secretary for information and technology at the Department of Veterans Affairs. He’s the husband of Suzan DelBene, the fifth-term representative from Washington’s First Congressional District, which encompasses a third of King County outside Seattle. 

Update, Jan. 12, 12pm ET: Rep. DelBene’s communications director says that Kurt DelBene was given Microsoft stock in options over his career at the company and sold his shares to divest before taking a role in government, an intention which they could not disclose in Oct. 27 news reports about his stock sale, or in a Washington newspaper report on Dec. 9, because his nomination had not yet been announced, which it was on Nov. 3, or confirmed, which it was on Dec. 17.

In late August 2021, Kurt DelBene reported a purchase of Microsoft stock valued between $5.2 million and $25.5 million in two transactions, then divested shares in two transactions in September and October of over $5 million apiece. The DelBene household had started the year with between $1 million and $5 million of Microsoft stock in a joint trust, generating income of up to $100,000 in 2020, with an additional up to $250,000 in Microsoft shares held by Kurt, so the hefty stock pickup in August more than doubled their holdings. Rep. DelBene is the vice chair of the tax-writing House Ways and Means committee and chair of the business-favoring New Democrat Coalition, whose 97 caucus members edge out the 95 House progressives.