Don’t Buy Into Lawmakers’ Talk of a Stock Trading Ban Just Yet

Good Friday morning. It’s going to be a delightful 62 degrees here this afternoon, which means a certain area boy will be making a voyage to the park.

Stock Trading Debate Intensifies

We’ve written to you a couple of times in recent months about the building momentum on Capitol Hill to ban lawmaker stock trading. Proponents of stricter rules point to past instances of insider trading by members of Congress and a widespread failure among members and staff to follow reporting requirements. Their broader reasoning for action: Why should lawmakers—who are writing and debating bills that affect various companies and entire industries, and who have access to knowledge most people don’t—be able to buy and sell stocks?

The effort has support in both parties and among the general public, but it faces institutional headwinds. Members generally don’t like passing new restrictions on themselves. Supporters are also contending with a broad array of competing bills. They will have to rally around a central course of action that can become law, even as a larger conversation about government ethics might slow the momentum to act.

You may have heard this week that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has thrown her support behind the push—and while she certainly took a step closer to accepting changes, her comments weren’t quite as definitive nor as encouraging as advocates had hoped.

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