Obama’s Ethics Director Attacks Pelosi for Supporting Lawmaker Stock Trading 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill June 26, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Walter Shaub, an Obama-era director of the Office of Government Ethics, called out Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) after she said members of Congress “should be allowed to participate” in stock trading while in office.

Shaub told Fox News:

What a disgusting comment. This is the opposite of government ethics. Nobody kidnapped these members of Congress when they were private citizens, dragged them to Washington and forced them to be in Congress. The American people are sick of members of Congress buying and selling stock and creating the appearance of trading on insider information. They should absolutely be banned from trading stocks. Let them buy diversified mutual funds. Let them buy government bonds. But bar them from trading stocks for crying out loud.

Shaub doubled down on his criticism of Pelosi online, posting several tweets criticizing the Speaker of the House.

“She’s wrong. She is 100% wrong. Nobody put a gun to anyone’s head and said ‘you must be a member of Congress,’” Shaub said. “Want to trade stocks? Do it. Want to be a member of Congress? Do it. But you have NO BUSINESS doing both! This is the opposite of government ethics.”

He went on to call it a “ridiculous comment,” and said, “She might as well have said ‘let them eat cake.’”

“Sure, it’s a free-market economy. But your average schmuck doesn’t get confidential briefings from government experts chock full of nonpublic information directly related to the price of stocks,” he added.

“MEMBERS OF CONGRESS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO TRADE STOCKS,” read another tweet.

Pelosi’s comments on Wednesday came after Business Insider asked the Democrat leader a question during a press conference. Business Insider released a report on Monday that found 49 members of Congress and 182 congressional staffers violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act.

Pelosi is one of the wealthiest members of Congress because her husband, Paul, is a frequent trader that has made millions of dollars.

Pelosi’s position puts her at odds with the progressive wing of her party. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) spoke out against lawmaker trading last week, calling the practice “absolutely ludicrous.”

“It is absolutely ludicrous that members of Congress can hold and trade individual stock while in office,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “The access and influence we have should be exercised for the public interest, not our profit. It shouldn’t be legal for us to trade individual stock with the info we have.”

Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff told Business Insider, “The STOCK Act exists to shine a bright light on trades by members of Congress,” and “sunlight is the best disinfectant. As you can see from the required disclosures, with which the speaker fully cooperates, these transactions are marked ‘SP’ for spouse. The speaker has no prior knowledge or subsequent involvement in any transactions.”

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