Discussion is still continuing after several months on legislation to ban stock trade by members of Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Newsmax Wednesday, but she didn't say if the work underway will also include banning trades by members of congressional staff.
"There's been discussion about it and this — just recently, this morning, actually, in the committee," the California Democrat told Newsmax's Kilmeny Duchardt during a press conference Wednesday. "We've been going back and forth and refining things and talking to members about what they think will work, and we believe we have a product that we can bring to the floor."
Duchardt commented that the matter has been under discussion since February and that it has broad bipartisan support, but Pelosi didn't answer why the bill has taken eight months to complete or comment on a recent New York Times investigation citing 97 lawmakers with potential violations of failing to report under the Stock Act.
When asked if the eventual bill will include greater penalties for lawmakers who violate it, Pelosi responded with a "wait and see" answer.
"When the bill comes out, you will see what it is," Pelosi said. "Those are some of the discussions that go back and connect the back and forth, but I’m pleased with it. It’s very strong.”
Pelosi came under fire this summer from opponents while discussions were going on about Democrats' calls to introduce legislation to ban stock trading.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., commented in July that it would be inappropriate for her to write the bill, considering her venture capitalist husband Paul Pelosi's investments.
"I think we have to do a thorough investigation and look at what is the proper role for members of Congress and what influence they have, and I don't think the proper way to do this is Nancy Pelosi writing the bill because we have proven that she can't do that," McCarthy said.
Pelosi in July signed a periodic financial disclosure that revealed her husband sold up to $5 million worth of shares for the software company Nvidia, losing $341,365, with a separate financial disclosure showing he exercised 200 call options for the company in June.
The document was filed one day before the Senate passed the semiconductor bill, which went on to clear the House the following day. Pelosi has denied that her husband's transactions were made based on information from her.
The Times reported on Tuesday that, based on research of trades between 2019 to 2021, 97 current senators or representatives had reported trades they or immediate family members made in stocks or assets that had connections with their committee work.
The potential for conflict has drawn criticism for some time, and the Times noted that there were more than 3,700 trades that had been reported by lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans.
Under the 2012 Stock Act, members of Congress can buy and sell stocks and bonds, as well as conduct other financial transactions, as long as they are not using inside information for their actions.
All transactions they or immediate family members conduct that are valued at $1,000 or more must be reported within 45 days, according to the law; and even members of Congress can face insider-trading penalties.
They can also face ethical issues as their work and briefings with constituents and others can give them insights that could potentially be considered as insider knowledge, noted the Times.
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