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27 US representatives urge Congress to ban members trading shares

Nearly 30 federal lawmakers want U.S. Congress to prohibit elected representatives from stock market trading.

25 Democrats and two Republicans urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R) to bar congressional representatives from buying, owning and selling company shares.

The group led by Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) believes there is no excuse for lawmakers and staff breaching the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act hundreds of times since 2020.

“It is clear the current rules are not working,” they said in an open letter. “This glaring problem will not go away until it is fixed and Congress should not delay when we have the power to fix it.”

Existing legislation already forbids politicians from using “non-public knowledge” for financial gain on the share market. However, the representatives discovered defining what constitutes non-public knowledge is “nearly impossible.”

“Congress should close these loopholes by simply banning members from owning or trading individual stocks while in office,” the letter said. “This would [also] end the potential corruption of lawmakers pursuing policy outcomes that benefit their portfolios.”

The group acknowledges the changes mean some elected representatives would suffer a financial loss. However, lawmakers should focus more on serving constituents instead of trading shares.

“Perhaps this means some of our colleagues will miss out on lucrative investment opportunities,” the letter said. “We do not care, we came to Congress to serve our country, not turn a quick buck.”

An overwhelming majority of Americans previously supported banning lawmakers from stock market trading. Data for Progress’s latest poll found 67% of respondents agree that Congress members should be barred from trading shares.

From the sample audience of 1,266 likely voters, 43% strongly supported new legislation prohibiting representatives and senior congressional staff from buying and selling individual stocks. A further 24% were “somewhat supportive.”

The following representatives signed the joint letter:

  • Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.)
  • Angie Craig (D-Minn.)
  • Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.)
  • Bill Foster (D-Ill.)
  • Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)
  • Jesús García (D-Ill.)
  • Jared Golden (D-Maine)
  • Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)
  • Andy Kim (D-N.J.)
  • Conor Lamb (D-Pa.)
  • Andy Levin (D-Mich.)
  • Joe Neguse (D-Colo.)
  • Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.)
  • Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.)
  • Dean Phillips (D-Minn.)
  • Mark Pocan (D-Wis.)
  • Katie Porter (D-Calif.)
  • Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.)
  • Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)
  • Mary Scanlon (D-Pa.)
  • Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.)
  • Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.)
  • Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.)
  • Haley Stevens (D-Mich.)
  • Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)
  • Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.)
  • Susan Wild (D-Pa.).

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