Issue One today applauded the bipartisan reintroduction of the TRUST in Congress Act, a bill that would prohibit members of Congress, their spouses, and their children from buying and selling individual stocks while in office.
“When Members of Congress trade stocks while they’re receiving privileged information during hearings and closed-door briefings from industry leaders, they erode the public’s trust and create the appearance of corruption, something that is worth guarding against as much as corruption itself,” said Issue One Founder and CEO Nick Penniman.
“That’s why Congress should ban members of Congress and their immediate family members from trading individual stocks while in office,” Penniman continued. “The TRUST in Congress Act is a commonsense solution that has received strong bipartisan support, and it’s time for our leaders to act and pass this bill into law.”
Thirty-eight members of Congress — 30 House Democrats and 8 House Republicans — have so far sponsored the TRUST in Congress Act, whose lead sponsors are Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA). The bill would allow members to invest in mutual funds and build for retirement while at the same time curbing the perception that lawmakers are trading individual stocks based on non-public knowledge.
Last year, Issue One hosted a panel with the National Taxpayers Union and the Project On Government Oversight about why it’s time to ban stock trading by members of Congress, which featured both Roy and Spanberger, as well as former House members Brian Baird (D-WA) and Zach Wamp (R-TN), who are both members of Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus.
More than three dozen members of Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus subsequently sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to take action on the issue.
According to Business Insider and other news organizations, 78 members of Congress failed to properly report stock trades during the past two years, as mandated by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, also known as the STOCK Act, which was drafted and introduced by Baird.
Relatedly, the New York Times last year identified 97 lawmakers or their family members who bought or sold assets over a three-year period in industries that could be affected by their legislative committee work.
Issue: Congressional Ethics