NYT publishes damning report about congressional stock trading

The New York Times has just conducted an analysis that has found that 97 current members of Congress – or their immediate families – have made stock trades that have “intersected with their congressional work.” 

Another way to put this is that they have made suspicious stock trades – trades that hint at insider trading.

Example after example

In its report, the Times provides numerous examples of suspicious trades by members of Congress.

It ought to be pointed out, though, that the Times focused on members who are part of Congressional committees. So, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), for example, did not make the list even though the stock trading of her husband has just recently been called into question.

One example that the Times did provide, however, is that of Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA). The Times reports that his wife sold shares of Boeing in March of 2020 on the day before a committee on which Lowenthal sat released a report that was damaging to Boeing. That would be a good time to sell.

Another example provided by the Times is that of Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH). He bought shares of AbbVie, the pharmaceutical company, in 2020 and 2021 at a time when a committee on which he sat was investigating AbbVie over drug prices.

One gets the impression from the Times’ report that examples like these can be multiplied infinitely.

Background

It is because there have been countless allegations in recent years that members of Congress have been using their influence and knowledge to personally benefit from the stock market that there have been calls for a congressional ban on stock trading.

These calls have been bipartisan, but not every member of Congress has been on board with such a ban – for obvious reasons.

Pelosi, last week, surprised many by suggesting that the House could soon vote on one of these bans.

“There’s been discussion about it, and just recently, this morning, actually, the committee, we’ve been going back and forth, and they were refining things and talking to members about what they think will work, and we believe we have a product that we can bring to the floor this month,” Pelosi said.

It is unclear whether Pelosi is actually going to follow through on this, and it is also unclear whether Congress would legitimately vote to ban itself from stock trading. Something, though, clearly needs to be done about this.

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