When members of Congress trade stock while in office, they abuse the public trust — and often their positions. Legislators receive classified information to make better decisions for the health and welfare of the public. Yet, all-too-often, they leverage this insider knowledge for personal profit, or to make money for their donors.
Avoiding corruption or the appearance of corruption — and breaching the public trust — is the exact reason why we have laws like the STOCK Act in place. However, this law needs to be strengthened to correct weaknesses dealing with insider trading.
The TRUST in Congress Act (H.R. 336) would prohibit members of Congress from trading stock while in office and require members of Congress to place their holdings in a qualified blind trust. A similar bill has also been introduced in the Senate. Congress should seize this momentum and pass into law commonsense ethics reform that will combat corruption and the appearance of corruption.
Rules for what makes a qualified blind trust are already spelled out, and require assets to be managed by an independent person instead of the beneficiary or their friends, family, or campaign.
Issue One has also strongly encouraged members of Congress to divest themselves of their publicly traded stocks and commodities when taking office, or place their assets in a diversified mutual fund.
Such measures would not only increase public confidence in the motivations behind the public officials’ decisions, but also protect the public officials themselves from these accusations.
Learn more about our congressional ethics work.