House Democrats' stock ban bill covering spouses might not see a vote before November election

Legislation follows years of eyebrow-raising trades by House Speaker's husband Paul Pelosi.

Updated: September 29, 2022 - 10:56am

House Democratic leadership's stock ban bill, which covers spouses and dependent children, might not see a vote before the November election takes place. 

The Democrat-led House is scheduled to leave for recess on Friday and return after the Nov. 8 election. Congress is currently focused on passing a continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded beyond Sept. 30. Senate Democrats have agreed on a 10-week funding extension, but the full chamber has yet to pass legislation.

In addition to members of Congress, the Combatting Financial Conflicts of Interest in Government Act would cover senior officials in all three branches of government and extend the individual stock trading ban to spouses and dependent children. The ban also includes cryptocurrencies. California Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, chair of the Committee on House Administration, drafted the bill. 

The release of the new legislation comes after some of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul's most recent trades have raised eyebrows. He purchased between $1 million and $5 million of stock in a semiconductor company ahead of an expected vote on legislation that contained $52 billion for chipmakers.

Speaker Pelosi's office said she had "no prior knowledge" of her husband's stock purchase.

According to a Fortune report from July 2021, Pelosi made millions on Big Tech stock purchases in advance of an antitrust bill that was moving through the House. The bill stalled, but Pelosi made additional technology-related stock buys.

Pelosi's technology and semiconductor stock purchases are just the latest in a long history of similar transactions.

Pelosi's Visa stock purchases in 2008 created controversy because the buys occurred while credit card companies were lobbying Speaker Pelosi to halt legislation that would curb credit card swipe fees to vendors, CBS News reported at the time

North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr made unwanted headlines for selling off about $1 million in stock in mid-February 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic led to a downturn in the stock market. Burr's stock activity led to a federal investigation, but it didn't result in any charges. 

The lack of stock trading laws that applied to lawmakers was thrust into the public eye after Peter Schweizer released his book, "Throw Them All Out" in 2011.

Congress later passed the STOCK Act to prevent insider trading in Congress. Former President Obama signed the bill into law. It did not include a ban on individual stock buys but required members of Congress to file financial disclosure reports showing purchases made under their or their spouses' name.

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