Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., indicated in a "Dear Colleague" letter on Thursday that reform legislation banning congressional lawmakers from trading stocks will include Supreme Court justices. But for some, the provision comes as a "poison pill" to kill the legislation, likely in the Senate.
In her letter, Lofgren, the chair of the House Administration Committee, outlined a framework for "Combating Financial Conflicts of Interest and Restoring Public Faith and Trust in Government."
In Lofgren's letter, she wrote: "Congress can act to restore the public's faith and trust in their public officials and ensure that these officials act in the public interest, not their private financial interest, by: restricting senior government officials — including members of Congress and the Supreme Court — and their spouses and dependent children from trading stock or holding investments in securities, commodities, futures, cryptocurrency and other similar investments and from shorting stocks."
The push to reform an anemic Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act came earlier this year after a report that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., may have made "anywhere between $40 million and $252 million" through her work in Congress. The reform push gained momentum last month after The New York Times published a report indicating that nearly 100 lawmakers or their family members made financial trades that may hold conflicts of interest.
But in February, according to The Hill, Pelosi threw her support behind the stock ban. The overcoming of her previous opposition to the reform came after she floated the idea of including the judiciary in any reforms made to financial reporting requirements.
Before Lofgren's indication to include Supreme Court justices in the reform bill, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., voiced her concern to Yahoo Finance that she suspects that a provision to include a judicial body in the reform would be a "poison pill."
"While I support it in principle," Spanberger says, "I recognize that for some of our colleagues across the aisle, that may be a poison pill at this point in time. I hope that choice is not intentional to bring in a poison pill."
Last week, Pelosi told reporters that a stock trading reform bill could hit the floor this month. On Thursday, top House legislators said they would consider legislation to reform the STOCK Act next week.
The House is slated to leave Washington at the end of next week and will not return until after the midterms in November.
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