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A bill to prevent members of Congress and their spouses from trading or owning stocks while they hold elective office, which was introduced in February, is at a standstill amid a denial from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that her husband bought stock based on inside information she provided him.
The measure, called the Bipartisan Ban on Congressional Stock Ownership Act of 2022, was introduced in the House by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and, to date, has 14 cosponsors, a majority of which are Democrats.
The legislation, according to its text, would prohibit members of Congress and their spouses from “stock trading and ownership.” In addition, it states that the elected members and their spouses should not “own an interest in or trade (except as a divestment) any stock, bond, commodity, future, or other form of security, including an interest in a hedge fund, a derivative, option, or other complex investment vehicle.”
Since its introduction, the bipartisan measure has been referred to several committees, with the latest action taking place Feb. 24, when it was further referred from the House Agriculture committee to its Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit.
A related measure was also introduced by several prominent members of the Senate, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Steve Daines, R-Mont.; Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.; and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
On Thursday, in response to a question from Fox News Digital, Pelosi said her husband, Paul Pelosi, never made stock purchases based on inside information he might have received. “No. Absolutely not,” she said.
The denial came after Pelosi made headlines when her husband, who has become known for making stock trades worth millions, made a purchase of computer chip stock.
Pelosi’s office has defended purchases by her husband and reiterated that Pelosi, who could bring a measure preventing lawmakers and their spouses from trading stock to the House floor for a vote, does not own any stock.
Kendra Arnold, the executive director for the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, told Fox News that it is “completely irrelevant,” for the sake of conflict of interest laws, whether it was Pelosi or her husband that owns and initiated the stock trades.
“Her response that it was her husband who made the stock trades is not relevant, and she knows it,” Arnold said. “Whether it is her or her spouse that owns and made the stock trades is completely irrelevant for the conflict of interest laws, which is why she is required to disclose these stock trades in the first place.”
“While the disclosure laws are fundamental for revealing whether a Member has used nonpublic information for profit or whether their personal investments influenced official action, the disclosure itself does not remedy any issues and doesn’t mean there isn’t a conflict of interest present,” Arnold added. “Once the disclosure occurs, it is important that any information is acted upon if there appears to be an issue present.”
Pelosi is worth an estimated $114 million, according to her 2018 personal financial disclosure. She is the sixth-richest member of the House and the 10th richest member of Congress, according to data tracked by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Several elected Republicans and Democrats have spoken out in recent months in favor of efforts and measures to prevent members of Congress from stock trading, but it appears there is no consensus among members in the Senate or House on what a final bill should look like.
Fox News’ Megan Henney and Houston Keene contributed to this article.