Framework to ban members of Congress and SCOTUS from trading stocks includes crypto provision

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, as well as Supreme Court justices who currently trade cryptocurrencies, may have to stop HODLing while in office if a bill gets enough votes.

According to a framework released Thursday, House Administration Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the House, said she had a “meaningful and effective plan to combat financial conflicts of interest” in the States united Congress restricting the financial activities of legislators and SCOTUS judges, as well as those of their spouses and children. The bill, if passed under the framework, would suggest a policy change following the 2012 passage of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act, which allows members of Congress to buy, sell and trade stocks and other investments while in office. , but also requiring them to disclose these transactions.

“Congress can act to restore the public’s faith and trust in its public officials and ensure that those officials act in the public interest, not in their private financial interest, by restricting senior government officials, including members of Congress and Supreme Court, and their spouses. and dependent children from trading stocks or having investments in securities, commodities, futures, cryptocurrency and other similar investments and from escorting stocks,” Lofgren said.

She added:

“I will soon present a legislative text for a bill based on this reform framework. Many MPs have already concluded that the reforms are necessary.”

The framework suggested that lawmakers and SCOTUS judges could still maintain and disclose a portfolio with diversified mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, Treasury bills and other investments that “did not present the same potential for conflicts of interest.” . The draft framework also proposed that disclosure amounts be more precise rather than the “extremely broad” range currently used (for example, $5 million to $25 million) and be publicly available.

Under the STOCK Act, lawmakers must report the purchase, sale or exchange of any investment over $1,000 within 30 to 45 days, but the law provides minimal financial and legal consequences for not reporting on time, sometimes up to $200. The proposed framework suggested enforcing fines of $1,000 for each 30-day period a person violated the disclosure rules, raising the late fee to $500 and authorizing the Justice Department to bring civil actions if necessary. The House Press Gallery Twitter account reported Thursday that the House could consider the bill as early as next week.

Senators Jon Ossoff and Mark Kelly proposed similar reforms to the STOCK Act in the Senate in January, but there has been no movement on the bill in over 8 months. According to Lofgren, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi directed the committee to review potential financial conflicts of interest in Congress. However, the speaker previously pushed back on efforts to ban lawmakers from owning or trading stocks, saying they “should be able to participate in that.”

Related: Powers on… Why do US officials ignore ethics and the STOCK Act by trading stocks?

Several House members and senators have disclosed their exposure to crypto investments, including Illinois Rep. Marie Newman, Florida Rep. Michael Waltz, Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis, Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, Rep. of Pennsylvania Pat Toomey, Alabama Representative Barry Moore and New Jersey Representative. Jefferson Van Drew. In December 2021, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said it was inappropriate for her to hold Bitcoin (BTC) or other digital assets because US lawmakers have access to “sensitive information and upcoming policies.”