Owning and trading stocks by Members of Congress

Reading the discussion, I guess a follow-up question to the OP would be something like - to those who do not oppose Members of Congress owning and trading most stocks while in office, are you still against them using privileged non-public information when making descicions on what to buy or sell?

Technically, insider trading IS illegal by Members of congress, a point I’m sure Pelosi has made. Maybe if transparency, enforcement and sanctions were higher it wouldn’t be as big of a deal, but somehow I doubt people like Pelosi are too motivated to go even in that direction, since when the STOCK Act was passed in 2012, it was quietly gutted almost immediately afterwords:

Seems like Congress Members are very happy to eat their cake and have it too. A potentially simple solution to this is, of course, to ban most or all stock trading by Members altogether.

Yes. That’s what’s important here.

Look at today’s news. The vice-chair of the Fed has to resign because of trading broad semi-passive stock and bond funds. This illustrates how government policy usually affects big pieces of the economy rather than one company. Individual stocks are too unpredictable for that to be the bigger prpblem.

What is even the point of being elite if the laws of the littles apply to you?

Not sure what the point is of the last post.

My last congressperson, Chaka Fattah, has been in prison for years. Many other Philadelphia area politicians have been convicted.

Law enforcement has special public corruption units which make it more dangerous for a politician to commit a white collar crime then for a member of the general public.

Of course, lots of lawbreakers, of all kinds, get away with crime. But a politician gets extra scrutiny.

I’m not attempting to speak for that poster. Having said that, one of the perks of being the elite in our current system is the ability to carve out exceptions to things, so that you don’t have to jump through a lot of the hoops that common folk do.

There is nothing like a voluntary $200 fee to put a dent in unethical transactions.

I’m now seeing reports that Qevin McQarthy will be introducing legislation that prohibits members of Congress from trading in individual stocks.

JFC, Nancy, this is an issue tailor-made for the Democratic Party and you’re letting the Party of Corruption run off with it instead.

Same thing here. As a rank and file employee of the national institutes of health, I am prohibited from owning any individual stock in the health care sector, even though my access to information and my ability to affect stock price is much smaller than the average congressional member. Overall there are many many ethics rules that rank and file government employees have to abide by that aren’t in place for political appointees and elected officials.

I would be happy if they just had the same restrictions as the rest of us. If this results in a skewing of the office holders towards those who are willing to sacrifice some degree of wealth in exchange for a desire to serve the public, than all the better.

The problem is, is that so many have been conditioned to believe that wealth equals intelligence. So, they believe that the wealthy are smarter people, and therefore, would make better congresspeople.

Now, I’m not of that opinion, I think that wealth has far more to do with luck than intelligence or even work ethic. And if someone gets to where they are due to luck, then they tend to think poorly of those who have not been as fortunate as they were.

Now, if someone is of well below average intelligence, then maybe they aren’t really suited for such a position, but I wouldn’t disqualify them on it.

What I really don’t understand is this pervasive argument that if we don’t allow people to abuse their position to profit off of it, then we just won’t be able to get qualified people. IMHO, anyone who needs to profit off their position is immediately disqualified.

The CFO’s response to my inquiry about buying the bonds was "Does the name “Martha Stewart” ring a bell?

Probably. Pelosi and spouse were already fairly wealthy way back when she was first elected. They own rental properties in SFO, where most normal people can’t afford to rent a tiny apartment. The meme that she has somehow gamed the system since being elected is just right-wing nonsense.

Pelosi is nowhere near the swampiest swamp creature, but she and her husband have at least done things that create the appearance of insider trading.


I mean maybe this stuff is a coincidence, but overall it isn’t a good look.

This seems a distortion of what anyone said here.

I don’t know about your ability to affect individual stock prices. But I think the ability of the average Congressperson to affect an individual stock price is low. And their ability to affect a sector, if on the right committee, may be higher.

The insider trading in individual stocks is done by people who are actually in the company:

New Evidence Shows Insider Trading Is ‘Pervasive’ and Rarely Punished

Politicians already get heightened law enforcement scrutiny. Passing new laws may be harmless but has nothing to do with our real problems.

The real issue isn’t being able to individually affect the price of a stock, but simply knowing when the price of a stock is going to be (dramatically) affected.

If someone knew that Medicare wouldn’t pay for the controversial (because it may not work) new Alzheimer’s drug, aducanumab,. they could have made a lot of money yestereday by shorting the stock. (At least in theory; I don’t really know how much lead time you need.) This is information someone who is placed at just the right spot in the bureaucracy would know, not a member of Congress.

It may be good political tactics for a politician to favor the thread idea. But it’s not going to do anything to reduce corruption.