Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (l) and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-17th District (r). Both are seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate (Photo collage via Pittsburgh City Paper).
By Ryan Deto
PITTSBURGH — U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., (D-Georgia) is set to introduce a bill in Congress that would ban members of Congress from holding or trading stocks. The move from the Georgia Democrat appears to be in contrast with comments from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif..
Regardless, two Pittsburgh politicians and Democratic U.S. Senate candidates — Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb D-17th District — also have joined the crowd calling for congressional members from being banned from trading and owning stocks.
The two are seeking the Democratic nomination for the state’s open Senate seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. Fetterman announced his support for a stock owning and trading ban on Tuesday.
Fetterman noted that “politicians across the political spectrum” have been accused of violating insider trading laws, specifically cases where members of Congress unloaded stocks before the pandemic shutdowns when only high ranking government officials were privy to COVID mitigation plans. He says that he supports members of Congress, their spouses, and their senior staffers from holding individual stocks, instead mandating that these assets be placed in blind trusts or sold off.
In a Tuesday tweet, Lamb pointed out that he was a co-sponsor on HR 1579, aka the Ban Conflicted Trading Act, which would ban members of Congress and senior aides from trading stocks. He co-sponsored that bill on Dec. 30, 2021. The next day, as reported by Huffington Post reporter Daniel Marans, Lamb elaborated and said he also supports a ban on spouses and dependents making trades.
Specifically, Congress should pass HR 1579, the Ban Conflicted Trading Act, which already has 23 cosponsors, including me. https://t.co/7pPtthloes
— Conor Lamb (@ConorLambPA) January 11, 2022
The support from the two Pennsylvania Democrats comes in contrast to comments that Pelosi made last month, where she told Insider that the United States is “a free-market economy,” and that lawmakers “should be able to participate in that.”
Some Republican leaders have hinted they might ban the practice if the GOP retakes a majority after the November elections. Fox Business reported on Tuesday that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.,is considering limiting or prohibiting members of Congress from trading individual stocks while in elective office if Republicans win a majority of seats this fall.
Other Democrats who have already signaled support for a Congressional stock trading ban include U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., as well as U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Sanders has been a longtime advocate for the ban.
Ryan Deto is news editor for Pittsburgh City Paper, where this story first appeared.
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