Rep. Davids Urges Action on Congressional Stock Trading Ban Following Hearing
Targeted News Service (Press Releases)
WASHINGTON, April 15 -- Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kansas, issued the following news release:
Following a hearing examining policies to ban members of Congress from trading individual stocks, Representative Sharice Davids joined a bipartisan group of 19 House colleagues to call for continued action to prevent insider trading and improve transparency. The House Administration Committee heard strong testimony in support of a stock trading ban for members of Congress and their immediate families last week.
KSHB reported on Davids' continued work with members from both parties to call for further action to introduce those new guardrails:
KSHB: "Rep. Sharice Davids among legislators urging for stronger laws against conflicted stock trading"
"U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, who represents Kansas' third congressional district, has joined other lawmakers in signing a letter asking for stronger rules for members of Congress engaging in trading stocks.
The letter advocates that new legislation to limit stock market endeavors from lawmakers address three main points:
* Banning ownership and trading of stocks by representatives' spouses and dependents
* Allows for no exception for stocks already acquired before entering Congress
* Enforcement of the rules and heavy fines for violations
'Americans across the political spectrum support banning members of Congress from trading stocks," the letter says. "If we seek to write off their concerns with a toothless gimmick, they will see through it and continue to mistrust their elected officials.'"
Davids was an early backer of the idea, even when members of her party leadership were against it. She has signed onto the bipartisan TRUST in Congress Act, which would establish a new firewall between Members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate--as well as their spouses and dependent children--and their investments, ensuring that they cannot use their positions to unethically inform investment decisions or influence the value of their existing investments. Davids has not made any individual stock trades during her tenure in Congress.
The Kansas Reflector reported on Davids support for the bipartisan TRUST in Congress Act:
The Kansas Reflector: "U.S. Rep. Davids backs legislation to avoid insider trading by members of Congress"
"Davids, the 3rd District Democrat seeking re-election in 2022, said members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate were in positions of public trust and should be held to high standards due to their extraordinary access to information not available to some outside government. She said the TRUST in Congress Act would provide necessary barriers to potentially corrupt application of insider information.
'Particularly during COVID, we've seen elected officials appear to misuse that privilege for personal gain on the stock market, which is absolutely unacceptable," she said. "I'm in Congress to make government work for Kansans, and part of that is rebuilding trust. To that end, I support introducing new guardrails that further reduce the likelihood of misconduct by our elected officials.'"
Joining Davids to push for action this week were Representatives Jared Golden (ME-02), Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Marie Newman (IL-03), Greg Stanton (AZ-09), Haley Stevens (MI-11), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Susan Wild (PA-07), Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Angie Craig (MN-02), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Jason Crow (CO-06), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Tom O'Halleran (AZ-01), Andy Levin (MI-09), and Darren Soto (FL-09).
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April 13, 2022
To: The Honorable Zoe Lofgren, Chair, Committee on House Administration, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Rodney Davis, Ranking Member, Committee on House Administration, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chair Lofgren and Ranking Member Davis,
We write today to urge your committee to advance strong legislation to ban members of Congress from directly owning or trading stocks while in office. While we are encouraged that the Committee on House Administration has held a hearing on this issue, we urge you to swiftly follow up on this hearing with a markup to advance bipartisan legislation, such as the TRUST in Congress Act or the Ban Conflicted Trading Act.
It is important that your committee advance not just any form of legislation, but one that makes a ban unambiguous and without loopholes. To do this, we believe that legislation advanced by your committee to ban members from owning and trading stocks, outside of holding them in a blind trust, needs to contain the following provisions:
1. Ban direct ownership and trading of individual stocks by members' spouses and dependent children. A "ban" on stock trading by members of Congress that allows unfettered trading by their spouses is meaningless. Married couples routinely manage their assets together, and a member of Congress could escape a stock trading ban by just giving tips to their spouse. Similarly, such a ban should extend to members' dependent children. They will have plenty of time to play with stocks when they're financially independent.
2. No exceptions for stocks acquired prior to entering Congress. Some have proposed that members should be allowed to hold onto stocks they owned before entering Congress and keep them for the duration of their time in office. While members would therefore be prohibited from trading these stocks while in office, they would still have an incentive to see those stocks growing in value. This creates a serious conflict of interest and should not be allowed to continue. At the very least, stocks owned before entering Congress must be moved to a qualified blind trust.
3. Effective enforcement of these rules with heavy fines. As recent reports of widespread violations of the STOCK Act have demonstrated, it's not enough to just have rules on paper. They must be backed up by effective enforcement, including significant fines to deter and punish violations.
Americans across the political spectrum support banning members of Congress from trading stocks. If we seek to write off their concerns with a toothless gimmick, they will see through it and continue to mistrust their elected officials. We stand ready to work with you on a bipartisan proposal as it moves through the legislative process.