After House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) proposed possible new legislation to limit the practice of insider stock trading among members of Congress, even some within his own ranks have anonymously voiced their opposition to such a plan.
As reported by the New York Post, McCarthy first made the suggestion to Punchbowl News, suggesting such a bill as one of many things he would want to see introduced if the GOP retakes the majority in November. Among other things, his proposal would restrict members to only holding professionally managed funds, as well as prohibit lawmakers from owning stocks in companies that are overseen by committees they serve on.
McCarthy pointed to the example of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has a net worth of over $100 million, and whose husband was found to have traded millions more worth of tech stocks. “I just think if you’re the Speaker of the House, you control what comes to the floor, what goes through committee, you have all the power to do everything you want,” McCarthy said on Tuesday. “You can’t be trading millions of dollars.”
However, some Republican members of the House anonymously criticized McCarthy’s proposal, claiming that the problem of insider trading is not as widespread as McCarthy portrays it to be.
“It’s short-term political gain against Pelosi, while making members worse off for the long term,” said one anonymous Republican member. “Pelosi’s stock portfolio isn’t representative of 98 percent of House members’ net worth. Members should live by the rules every American lives by, not remove us from the economy.”
“I think it is a stupid idea. We don’t increase our wages so we lose income every year to inflation,” said another anonymous member. “If you start to penalize folks who have stocks in retirement funds, it’s crazy.”
Insider trading nevertheless proved to be a problem among multiple members of Congress within both houses and both parties before and after the onset of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. Multiple members of the U.S. Senate, including Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) were initially investigated by the Justice Department for selling stocks after a classified briefing warning of the coming stock market crash, before the public became aware of the coming economic consequences. All senators were ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing, although the political fallout is believed to have played a factor in Loeffler’s failed re-election bid against Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.)