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Pelosi rejects stock-trading ban for members of Congress: 'We are free market economy. They should be able to participate in that'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday rejected the idea of banning members of Congress and their spouses from holding and trading individual stocks while in office.

"This is a free market, and people — we are a free market economy. They should be able to participate in that," Pelosi said when asked by Insider at her weekly press conference.

Insider also asked Pelosi about "Conflicted Congress," a 5-month-long investigation by Insider that found 49 members of Congress and 182 senior congressional staffers have violated the STOCK Act, a law to prevent Insider trading.

The Speaker said she had not yet seen the project, but said that it's important that members are complying with the law.

"If people aren't reporting, they should be," she said.

Pelosi's position puts her at odds with the likes of progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both of whom have called for banning members of congress from trading stocks while in office.

"It is absolutely ludicrous that members of Congress can hold and trade individual stock while in office," Ocasio-Cortez recently wrote on Twitter. "The access and influence we have should be exercised for the public interest, not our profit. It shouldn't be legal for us to trade individual stock with the info we have."

And on Tuesday, Sen. Warren told Insider that she had seen Insider's investigation, calling out the "brazenness" of members and staffers trading stocks even while having access to privileged knowledge.

"We need both tougher laws and enforcement of those laws," the Massachusetts Democrat told Insider. "The American people should never have to guess whether or not an elected official is advancing an issue or voting on a bill based on what's good for the country or what's good for their own personal financial interests."

Asked about progressives' position on the issue, a spokesman for Pelosi signaled that the speaker prefers a transparency-focused approach to insider trading.

"The STOCK Act exists to shine a bright light on trades by members of Congress," said spokesman Drew Hammill. "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."

"The speaker does not own any stocks," he continued. "As you can see from the required disclosures, with which the speaker fully cooperates, these transactions are marked 'SP' for spouse. The Speaker has no prior knowledge or subsequent involvement in any transactions."

Pelosi's husband, investor Paul Pelosi, frequently trades significant numbers of stocks. With her husband's assets considered, Pelosi ranks among the wealthiest members of Congress, according to an Insider analysis.

Insider has identified numerous examples of federal lawmakers trading stocks in industries they oversee as part of their congressional committee assignments, including within the defense, healthcare, and energy industries.

bus inessinsider.com/we-are-free-market-economy-pelosi-rejects-stock-ban-congress-2021-12

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