In 2012, the Congress passed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. In 2021, 54 members of Congress violated the STOCK Act by failing to report their trades in a timely manner.
Up until very recently, the corruption of the political establishment, including most Republicans, in Washington could be explained in one sentence. Nancy Pelosi is worth over $100 million dollars and nobody in Congress asks why.
According to recent financial disclosures, Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, has traded over $33 million dollars in the tech sector. Paul Pelosi has had some amazing luck in the stock market.
For example, on March 19, 2021, Paul Pelosi purchased millions of dollars in Microsoft stock. On March 31, 2021, Microsoft announced a $22 billion dollar contract and the stock rose 11 percent.
Last week House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy informed the public that if Republicans take the House in the fall, as speaker, he would consider a bill that would limit Congressional stock trades. A bipartisan coalition is emerging to support a bill that could either limit elected officials to professionally managed mutual funds or blind trusts.
Last week Democratic Sens. Jon Ossoff of Georgia and Mark Kelly of Arizona have proposed legislation that would limit all members of Congress, as well as spouses and dependent children, to a blind trust.
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Arkansas introduced a similar piece of legislation. I hope Hawley and Ossoff can work together and combine the best aspects of their proposals.
Ossoff believes members of Congress should be fined from their salary for insider trading while Hawley thinks members of Congress should “return their profits” earned from insider trading to the Treasury. Why not both?
If I could offer a suggestion, I think someone should propose the Hunter Biden amendment to any final bill. The adult children, and siblings, of elected officials should not be allowed to serve on the boards of publicly traded companies, especially foreign companies.
Hunter Biden co-founded, and owned 10%, of Bohai Harvest RST (BHR) Equity Investment Fund Management Company, which is a Shanghai-based private equity firm. Even when Hunter Biden was on the board, 70% of this company was owned by Chinese investors.
BHR was partly financed by the Bank of China. In 2016, when Joe Biden was still vice president, Hunter Biden was on the board of directors of BHR when they helped a Chinese company purchase an American company, which possessed one of the world’s most important cobalt mines in the Congo.
Cobalt is essential to manufacturing the batteries for electric cars. Hunter Biden’s company helped the Chinese gain an advantage in this lucrative future market of electric cars at the expense of American car companies.
Even if it was an American company, when a member of Congress has an enormous amount of stock in tech giants like Apple, or his/her child is on the board, I don’t want any of them taking a call from Apple CEO Tim Cook.
As long as Nancy Pelosi is speaker, it is unlikely that any substantive bill will pass. Even if the Republicans win in November, it will be very hard to pass any bill without more public pressure from the American people.
This issue reminds me of my greatest disappointment with the Republican Congress of the 1990s. While Newt Gingrich was able to keep many of his promises, the Republicans failed to enact term limits.
In 1995, the Supreme Court ruled that the states could not impose terms limits on their congressional seats.
Without the states imposing term limits, the only other option was a constitutional amendment. For obvious reasons, this was highly unlikely since career politicians in Congress were not going to vote for an amendment on term limits.
One of the many reasons we should adopt term limits is because I think career politicians will only get better at insider trading after many years of practice.
If Congress could really crack down on insider trading, it’s possible that some of the people, who came to Congress to enrich themselves, would be forced to find more lucrative opportunities elsewhere.
Robert Zapesochny is a researcher and writer whose work focuses on foreign affairs, national security and presidential history. He has been published in numerous outlets, including The American Spectator, the Washington Times, and The American Conservative. When he's not writing, Robert works for a medical research company in New York. Read Robert Zapesochny's Reports — More Here.
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