OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former President Donald Trump waded into the debate over whether members of Congress ought to be allowed to trade stocks, making clear that he doesn’t think it’s a great idea, putting him at odds with California Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
In recent weeks, Pelosi — whose husband, Paul, is a prolific stock trader, the couple being worth around $114 million — herself has defended stock trades by members of Congress as a means of engaging in capitalism, which is ironic given that members of her own party have vehemently criticized the economic principle in favor of distinctly socialist or even Marxist economic principles.
But following her public remarks regarding members of Congress trading in stocks, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have moved to ban the practice, citing concerns among Americans that they illegally use insider information to their advantage.
Now, Trump has weighed in on the issue, saying he doesn’t believe it should be allowed, either, accusing her of doing the same thing.
“She has inside information. It’s not right. It’s not appropriate. It shouldn’t be,” Trump told Breitbart News. “She doesn’t want to discuss that. She wants to discuss other things that shouldn’t be discussed.
“Some of the things that they’re proposing now, like impeaching someone for absolutely no reason for a perfect phone call. You look at that. You look at impeachment—both of them. But you get impeached for a phone call that was like perfecto. So many different things,” he continued.
“I happen to watch her and see her and dealt with her a lot and I think she’s clever in one way and stone-cold crazy. She should not be allowed to do that with the stocks. She should not be allowed to do that. It’s not fair to the rest of this country,” the billionaire real estate mogul added.
Following Pelosi’s public comments about how lawmakers, like other Americans, should be able to participate in “capitalism” by trading stocks, a bipartisan effort was launched to ban the practice for serving members of Congress.
According to the New York Post, Senator Ossoff is seeking a Republican co-sponsor to back his ethics legislation, which would bar members of Congress and their families from participating in the stock market for the duration of their Congressional terms,” Republic Brief reported earlier this month.
“Among his own party members, Ossoff is likely to face strong opposition,” the outlet added, though he’s looking for a Republican co-sponsor.
Also this week, Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley put Pelosi and others on notice after recent reports involving allegedly shady trades.
In a statement posted to his website, Hawley announced that he is introducing the Banning Insider Trading in Congress Act. The bill prohibits members of Congress and their spouses from holding or trading individual stocks. Any members found in violation of the bill will be forced to return their profits.
The Banning Insider Trading in Congress Act will:
–Prohibit Members of Congress and their spouses from holding, acquiring, or selling stocks or equivalent economic interests during their tenure in elected office. Any holdings in diversified mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, or U.S. Treasury bonds are exempt from the prohibition.
–Give Members of Congress and their spouses six months, upon assuming office, to divest any prohibited holdings or place those holdings in a blind trust for the remainder of their tenure in office.
–Ensure Members or their spouses forfeit any investment profits to the American people via the U.S. Treasury if they are found to be in violation if the Act. Members who violate the requirements will also lose the ability to deduct the losses of those investments on their income taxes. The ethics committees of Congress may levy additional fines and will publicize violations.
–Require that after two years of the Act’s implementation, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will conduct an audit of Members’ compliance with the Act.
Hawley noted: “Year after year, politicians somehow manage to outperform the market, buying and selling millions in stocks of companies they’re supposed to be regulating. Wall Street and Big Tech work hand-in-hand with elected officials to enrich each other at the expense of the country. Here’s something we can do: ban all members of Congress from trading stocks and force those who do to pay their proceeds back to the American people. It’s time to stop turning a blind eye to Washington profiteering.”