Ocasio-Cortez Warns That Allowing Congress to Trade Stock Erodes Democracy

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) pushed to pass a stock trading ban for lawmakers last week, warning that if such legislation isn’t passed, bad faith actors will take advantage of public mistrust in Congress over members’ ability to trade stocks in order to erode democracy.

In a press conference, Congress was urged to pass a ban on stock trading, Ocasio-Cortez said that the issue “isn’t just about actual impropriety, but … about the perception of impropriety.” One of the many consequences of corruption and insider trading within Congress, she pointed out, is that it undermines the public’s trust in the nation’s top legislative body.

The nation is currently “tackling a crisis of faith in our institutions,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And that exploitation of that crisis of faith is a direct threat to our democracy, as we have seen over the last 2 to 4 years…. because it is these perceptions that can be exploited to undermine our most sacred institutions.” There is a “very direct connection” between public distrust of Congress and the erosion of democracy, she went on.

Ocasio Cortez and Senator Democrats spoke on Thursday to demand that lawmakers pass a ban on stock trading. Following a House Administration Committee hearing, the press conference was held immediately. examining the issueThe bill has bipartisan support in Congress.

“We have to be able to assure the American people … that they don’t have to worry about if they’re competing with their member of Congress’s stock portfolio in order to be heard,” Ocasio-Cortez concluded. “It’s a pretty simple concept.”

There are several proposals to ban stock trades: Ocasio Cortez, Rep. Joe Neguse(D-Colorado), and Sen. Jeff Merkley, (D-Oregon), for example. introduced a bipartisanThe Ban Conflicted Stock Trading Act, which was introduced last year, would prohibit lawmakers and their spouses trading individual stocks while in office. The Bill would give lawmakers the option to sell the stocks before taking office or move them into a blind trust, similar to Senators Jon Ossoff (D-Georgia) and Mark Kelly’s (D-Arizona) bill.

Also before Congress is Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s (D-Washington) bipartisan billThis would make it mandatory for spouses and members to completely divest from stocks other than widely-held investment funds. They would only be permitted to trade if there are no conflicts of interest. Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, the government watchdog group, states that full divestment is required from individual stocks. It is vitalTo the success of the ban

“Don’t forget that a very small percentage of the American people actually own stocks. This is a privilege of the wealthiest to even own stock,” Jayapal said. “Let’s be clear that there is something very wrong when people who do own stock look at the trades of members of CongressTo determine whether or not they should purchase a stock. There is a direct correlation.”

Congress as a whole frequently beat the market in stock trading — and the trades they make are often valuedIn the millions. Members of Congress sold and bought stocks worth nearly $290 million last year.

Democrats are working on consensus legislation to bring to a vote, but there isn’t yet a timeline for when a bill could be passed. On Thursday, Merkley said that Democratic lawmakers are “essentially unanimous” in their support for a ban. Some Republicans have expressed concern. their oppositionA few Republicans are aware of this. cosponsored or helped to introduce multiple billsThis indicates that the Senate could have enough support to defeat a 60-vote filibuster.

Voters love to ban stock trading within Congress. Poll after pollThe idea is supported by voters across all political spectrums, according to a January survey by Data for Progress. 74% of those surveyed supported a ban, regardless of whether they were presented with arguments for or against.