Corruption? Dems Set up Stock Trading Ban Bill to Fail: Report

Gage Skidmore Flickr

According to a new report from The Intercept, Democrats set up their stock trading ban bill to fail. The bill would ban members of Congress from profiting off of their votes by not allowing them to trade stocks. Many, including Speaker Pelosi, have come into the crossfire over their finances in the past. The bill was supposedly meant to correct that.

The report reads:

Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives tanked an opportunity to pass a key ethics reform Thursday, according to several Democratic and Republican staffers involved in bipartisan efforts to ban stock trading by members of Congress. Those staffers say leadership’s move appears crafted to head off broad bipartisan support for reform.

After House leaders introduced a bill to curtail stock trading by federal officials on Tuesday, Democrats and Republicans pointed out the discrepancies between the leadership-approved version and the carefully negotiated bipartisan bills that predated it. Those discrepancies led to several members saying they could not vote on the measure without reviewing the text and determining whether the bill could draw enough votes in both chambers to become law.

When backlash to the leadership version of the bill emerged, leaders pulled it from the schedule. The decision to punt further action until after the midterm elections imperils the odds that any version of the ban will pass the House and Senate. Several sources close to bipartisan negotiations on the subject tell The Intercept that may have been the point. On Friday, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., called it “a kitchen-sink package that they knew would immediately crash upon arrival.”

The “non-starters” in the leadership’s legislation, according to one Democratic staffer, included issues around the structure of qualified blind trusts, the inclusion of dependent children in the ban, and a measure expanding the ethics rules to members of the judiciary — sticking points that negotiators addressed in bipartisan reforms hashed out earlier this year. “The qualified blind trusts are kind of fake and are not an appropriate safeguard to really ensure that we have, you know, real divestiture from conflicting interests,” the staffer, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, said.

“It wasn’t a real process,” one Democratic staffer said. “There were all these things thrown in here that on the surface look good, but make it so expansive, that, you know, it’s not going to make it to the President’s desk.”



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