https://www.theepochtimes.com/reps-roy-spanberger-reintroduce-bill-banning-members-of-congress-from-trading-stocks-while-in-office_4982799.html

Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Chip Roy (R-Texas) have reintroduced legislation effectively banning members of Congress—as well as their spouses and dependent children—from trading stocks while they are in office.

The bipartisan duo of lawmakers introduced the new bill, titled the “Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust (TRUST) in Congress Act,” on Jan. 12.

Originally proposed in June 2020 and reintroduced in January 2021, the bill would require lawmakers to place certain securities, commodities, futures, and other comparable investments into qualified blind trusts while serving in Congress, according to a statement from Spanberger’s office.

Specifically, the act would ensure members of Congress cannot use their positions in the U.S. House or Senate to “unethically inform investment decisions, influence the value of their existing investments, or contribute to greater distrust between the American people and their elected officials,” according to Spanberger.

“We are long overdue for a vote on legislation to ban Members of Congress and their spouses from trading individual stocks. Last Congress, we saw the TRUST in Congress Act receive the most bipartisan support of any effort to do so. We saw tremendous momentum, we saw growing support in our districts, and we saw growing recognition across the political spectrum that such a reform needs to be made now,” said Spanberger in a statement.

Bill Demonstrates Lawmakers ‘Focused on Serving Interests of Americans’

“Our TRUST in Congress Act would demonstrate that lawmakers are focused on serving the interests of the American people—not their own stock portfolios,” the Virginia lawmaker added.

The newly-reintroduced bill is endorsed by a number of advocacy and government accountability organizations across the political spectrum, including the Project On Government Oversight, National Taxpayers Union, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the Government Accountability Project, and more.

It has also garnered 35 co-sponsors on both sides of the political spectrum including Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).

Thursday’s reintroduction marks the third time such a bill has been rolled out by Spanberger and Roy.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) speaks at a press conference about the National Defense Authorization Bill at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 22, 2021. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The bill stalled last year after lawmakers failed to reach a consensus on the ban, despite then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), whose husband Paul’s stock trades have been criticized, signaling support for such legislation.

Pelosi, who previously said that the United States is “a free-market economy” and that lawmakers “should be able to participate” in trading stocks, ranked sixth place in stock trading among congress members in 2021, according to a report by Unusual Whales, a company that sells financial data.

In 2022, Pelosi ranked outside of the top 10 as the lawmaker greatly reduced trading, according to the latest Unusual Whales report.

Most Americans Say Members of Congress Hold Unfair Advantage

2012 law known as the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or the STOCK Act, bans lawmakers from using non-public information from their work in Congress for their personal benefit, but Spanberger and Roy’s latest bill goes beyond that act, banning lawmakers from trading stocks altogether during their time in office.

Despite this, an analysis last year by The New York Times found that nearly 18 percent of members of Congress sat on congressional committees that may have granted them insight and created a conflict of interest with regard to the stock they were buying or selling.

In a joint statement with Spanberger and Roy on Thursday, Patrick Hedger, executive director of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, praised the newly reintroduced bill, which he said comes at a time when over 70 percent of Americans believe members of Congress hold an unfair advantage in the stock market.

“Requiring members to place securities, commodities, futures, and other comparable investments into qualified blind trusts while serving the American people is a strong step towards restoring the public’s faith in government,” Hedger said.

While the latest legislation appears to have garnered more support, it is unclear if or indeed when it will pass in the new Congress.

Katabella Roberts

Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.

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