Pelosi in controversial defense of stock-trading for Congress members

Washington DC - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday she does not agree that members of Congress and their spouses should be barred from holding and trading individual stocks while in office – although she may have some personal stock in the debate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wore the colors of the Golden State Warriors at her weekly press conference on Wednesday, and said she is a "diehard fan."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wore the colors of the Golden State Warriors at her weekly press conference on Wednesday, and said she is a "diehard fan."  © IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

The controversial remarks come as many have questioned the ethics of those in Congress who use policymaking and the stock market for their personal gain.

"We are a free-market economy," Pelosi told Insider on Wednesday. "They should be able to participate in that."

Investigations by the publication have found that at least at 49 members of Congress and numerous federal lawmakers have traded stocks in industries they oversee in government committees.

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"We have a responsibility to report on the stock," Pelosi said. "If people aren't reporting, they should be."

Yet, it has been revealed that many have failed to accurately report their financial trades and are guilty of not complying with laws to prevent insider trading and conflicts of interests.

Pelosi's remarks pit her against some progressives in Congress, who have called for barring members from trading stocks during their time in office.

"It is absolutely ludicrous that members of Congress can hold and trade individual stock while in office," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted last Wednesday. "It shouldn't be legal for us to trade individual stock with the info we have."

In a recent interview, AOC also said that she chooses not to hold stocks or digital assets so she can "remain impartial about policy marking."

"We have access to sensitive information and upcoming policy," she explained.

Does Speaker Pelosi have personal stock in the debate?

Nancy Pelosi defended Congressional members' stock-trading on Wednesday by saying the US is "a free-market economy."
Nancy Pelosi defended Congressional members' stock-trading on Wednesday by saying the US is "a free-market economy."  © IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

AOC's fellow progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren also called for stricter enforcement of Congressional stock trading laws earlier this week.

There is yet to be a ban on federal lawmakers from trading individual stocks, and those found in violation of stock trading law currently face only a small penalty, if any at all.

The meager fine, usually $200, is also sometimes waived by House or Senate ethics officials.

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Speaker Pelosi's husband is an investor who frequently trades large numbers of stocks. Their joint assets make her one of the wealthiest members of Congress, with an estimated net worth of $46 million.

Her team says she is fully transparent in disclosing her husband's stock market involvement, and "has no prior knowledge or subsequent involvement in any transactions."

Cover photo: IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

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