Jon Ossoff could sue Nancy Pelosi for a ban on stock trades in Congress

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Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff is looking to introduce a bill that would ban members of Congress from trading individual stocks — a practice that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has defended as her husband rakes in millions of dollars trading shares of tech companies, The Post has learned.

According to a Washington, D.C. source, the Ossoff ethics legislation, which the Democratic freshman Senator plans on introducing once he finds an Republican co-sponsor, would prevent conflicts of interests by making it illegal for lawmakers or their families to trade stock while in office. 

It would also likely require lawmakers put their assets in blind trusts — a step that the 34-year-old Ossoff completed himself months after being elected in January 2021. 

Ossoff may struggle to find a Senate Republican to support his opposition to stock trades. The House is more likely to have Republican support, as several GOP House members, including Chip Roy of Texas, have spoken out against the practice.

Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff can introduce Ossoff ethics legislation with the support of a Republican cosponsor.

Another proposal to curb Congress trades, the Ban Conflicted Trading Act, was introduced in the Senate in March by four Democratic Senators including Sen. Jeff Merkeley of Oregon and Ossoff’s fellow Georgia freshman Raphael Warnock. It also includes a bipartisan House version, supported by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Roy (D-NY), among other Democrats. 

But the Ban Conflicted Trading Act would only ban trades by members of Congress and their senior staff — not spouses or families — so Paul Pelosi’s stock-picking would remain legal. 

Ossoff’s forthcoming bill would be stricter by closing the spouse loophole, the source said. The new bill would be more in line with a bipartisan House proposition called the TRUST in Congress Act. This bill would ban close family members trading. It is supported by Democrats like Rep. Abigail Spanberger, Rep. Mondaire Jones (D–NY), and Karen Bass, D-Calif.) and Republicans like Roy Cloud, Scott Perry (R.Pa.) or Fred Keller (R.Pa.).

Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, has defended stock trading by members in Congress, while Paul has made millions through shares of large tech companies. AFP

“As Speaker Pelosi’s recent transactions make clear, decisions made for the people should be separate than decisions made for personal enrichment,”Roy shared his thoughts with The Post. 

According to insiders, if they feel political pressure, Republicans in the Senate could give in and support an Ossoff-style bill. Blake Masters, Arizona Republican Senate primary candidate, is one person who could apply such pressure. He claims that both Senate Republicans and Pelosi are being pressured. “wrong”Learn more about the subject.

“These lawmakers are just out of touch with how normal people view the situation,”The Post: Masters spoke out “Members of Congress should not be buying call options on Big Tech companies they’re in charge of regulating, that is ludicrous.” 

Rep. Chip Roy (R.TX) joined with Democrats to support a ban on stock trades by members Congress. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call/Sipa U

Asked for comment on Ossoff’s potential Congressional ethics bill, spokesman Jake Best said, “Don’t have anything I can share just yet.” 

News of Ossoff’s potential bill comes as Pelosi and other politicians from both parties catch flak for making millions trading stocks despite potentially being privy to insider information that can move markets. Current rules allow members and their families to trade stock as long as they disclose the moves within 45 calendar days. However, dozens of lawmakers have failed file timely reports.

Ossoff has criticised the practice but has not signed onto any specific bill. 

Ossoff and Warnock, in particular, appear to owe the failure to receive Congressional stock trades their political careers. Their opponents in the 2021 Georgia special election — Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue — both faced investigations for trading stocks ahead of the 2020 stock market crash after receiving Senate briefings about the coronavirus.  

Loeffler, Perdue and Warnock were not charged with insider trading. However, Ossoff & Warnock used the trades to attack incumbents and won narrowly. 

According to Craig Holman, an ethics lobbyist at Progressive Think Tank Public Citizen, the Georgia election shows that both Republicans and Democrats should support a crackdown against stock trading. 

“David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler lost their seats, I think, because of the allegations of insider trading,”Holman said to The Post. “Had those allegations not happened, I suspect the Republicans would’ve held onto the senate.” 

“Members of both parties should realize it’s a politically risky thing to do, to trade on the stock market,” Holman added. 

The concerns about insider trading extend beyond Congress. 

In October, Ossoff called for a ban on stock trading by Federal Reserve officials following revelations that two regional reserve bank presidents had actively traded shares in 2020. Weeks later, Jerome Powell, Fed Chairman banned the practice. 

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