Gaetz, AOC Seek To End Congressional Stock Trading

Two unlikely allies, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) are joining forces to end the practice of congressional stock trading.

The Florida Republican and New York Democrat are co-sponsoring H.R.3003, which would “restrict trading and ownership of certain financial instruments by Members of Congress and their spouses and dependents.” 

Gaetz said that while he disagreed with Ocasio Cortez, also known as AOC, “she’s not corrupt and I will work with anyone and everyone to ensure that Congress is not so compromised.” 

Ocasio Cortez said that the “ability to individually trade stock erodes the public’s trust in government.” 

She added that when “members have access to classified information, we should not be trading in the stock market on it. It’s really that simple.” 

Furthermore, the proposal is widely popular. A 2022 Morning Consult poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans favor such a ban, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents. 

Research by the New York Times discovered that almost 20% of members of Congress were on committees that “potentially gave them insight into the companies whose shares they reported buying or selling.” 

There has been significant support for such a bill, including from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who separately introduced his own version into the Senate.

The effort follows a number of trades made by members of Congress that have benefitted them personally.

The push for the bipartisan bill comes as Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) sold PacWest Bank right before the bank’s stock collapsed. 

The most high-profile example of well-timed stock trades comes from Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Former House Speaker Pelosi and her husband have made a number of lucrative trades during her time in office.

Pelosi is required by law to disclose her family’s stock trades. Her husband made a number of large transactions in 2021, including some totaling $5 million. 

The Pelosis traded a number of major stocks, including Apple, Tesla, Microsoft and Nvidia. 

She has been ranked as the sixth-most successful member of Congress in such trades. In 2021, stock trades among representatives and senators reached nearly $300 million.