As calls grow for Congress to block stock trading by lawmakers, a bipartisan group of 27 House members has introduced a bill to do just that.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said on Newsmax that his agreement with progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., in signing on to the bill should urge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to bring it to a vote.
"Whenever AOC and I have signed on to the same legislation, I just think all of America ought to take time out and really review it," Gaetz told Monday's "Stinchfield."
"At a minimum, we ought to have a vote on it."
Trading stocks while serving in Congress is not illegal, but there is a small fine — the standard being $200 — for failure to report trading on potential conflicts of interest.
"Even if it's not illegal, it's swampy and it's icky — and it makes people feel like their representatives aren't really representing them, but representing their own financial interests," Gaetz told host Grant Stinchfield.
"And we got too much of that in Washington on both sides, but we should at least have a vote. Let's just have a vote and figure out where people stand. If it loses, it loses, but then the American people will get to make a judgment," he said.
Gaetz suggested that a ban on stock trading might even be a way for lawmakers to ostensibly put term limits in effect, because staying out of the stock market for more than a few terms would prove costly over time.
"This legislation to prohibit stock trades from members of Congress really goes to what we think about our Congress," he said. "If it's a place you go for a few years, do your service and then return home — well, it's not really that much of a sacrifice to suspend trading during that period of time.
''But if you have people who are in Congress for 10, 20, 30, 40 years — well, they think, gosh, that's their entire opportunity to participate in the marketplace." he said.
Gaetz went back to the rarity of seeing him and 25 Democrats, including Ocasio-Cortez, signing on to a bill, saying either serve in Congress or trade stocks.
"The fact that you've got populists from the widest ends of the political spectrum coming together to say, 'hey, look, why don't we just make a deal in this country that you're on one side of the other,'" he continued. "You're on the lawmaking side, or you participate in the stock market."
Gaetz declared that Pelosi has a conflict of interest with her husband's stock trading, calling it the "worst example" of taking advantage of allowing lawmakers to potentially profit from their moves in Congress.
"I don't blame anyone who's followed the rules as they exist now, but the worst example has been Pelosi," he said. "When we have legislation to break up Big Tech moving through the Judiciary Committee with bipartisan momentum, oddly, you had her husband buying Big Tech stock.
"And everyone thought, 'well, that's kind of weird' — and then lo and behold, she never brings those bills up for a floor vote in the House of Representatives. So now we have the benefit of time to say, 'gosh, maybe Nancy Pelosi's husband knew something about the trajectory of legislation that impacted the value of individual stocks?'
"And that is the corruption that drives people nuts."
Gaetz noted that Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee during the investigations in Democrats' allegations of Russian collusion with Donald Trump's presidential campaign — was investigated but cleared for alleged conflicts of interest in pulling out millions from the stock market after receiving a classified briefing on COVID-19 before a pandemic was declared.
"Frankly, we got too many Republicans who have benefited off of the system corruptly, and let's start with Richard Burr," Gaetz said.
"He was saying one thing to the American people and then doing something very different in his own stock trades."
There are 25 House Democrats and two Republicans — Gaetz and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa. — signing on to ban stock trading in Congress.
"Usually we're talking about issues that Democrats will never agree with us on, but there are Democrats — in fact, more Democrats — who say, 'hey, you know what, let's just pick one side or the other: lawmaking or stock trader.'"
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