Amid renewed chatter about the importance of cracking down on legislators’ stock trades, high-ranking staffers tell The Post the likelihood Congress will actually regulate itself is so low, it’s laughable.
“You’re not getting members of Congress to self-regulate the money they can or can’t make,” a DC insider told The Post. “Why would they do something that doesn’t benefit them?”
On Thursday, a report broke in Punchbowl News that Democratic House members plan next month to introduce a bill that would crack down on stock trades by legislators and their family members.
But senior staffers were quick to suggest the report had more to do with getting a positive headline and less to do with actually enacting serious reform.
“It’s all performative … it’s not going anywhere,” one cynical Senate staffer told The Post.
This isn’t the first time legislators have talked about reining in stock trades. Earlier this year, momentum to ban congressional stock trading soared, with legislators in both the House and the Senate introducing bills — which went nowhere.
And skeptical staffers say the timing of introduction is suspicious — and possibly strategic — since Congress rarely gets anything done in the dog days of August.
“Barely anything new gets done before midterms now that we’re basically in summer recess,” one staffer told The Post. “Deal-making mode is over … and that only gets smaller as midterms grow closer.”
But the renewed push comes as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her husband — whose wealth is estimated to be north of $100 million, according to campaign finance watchdog Open Secrets — sold off $5 million in Nvidia shares days before a $52 billion semiconductor bill was passed this week.
The pair have long raised eyebrows for scooping up millions in call options for stocks including Google, Salesforce, Micron Technology and Roblox — buying stock in companies Pelosi is supposed to regulate.
One staffer who gives a bill low odds of passage said, “This isn’t the first time Congress has talked about this before but something always seems to go wrong.”
In fact, there hasn’t been an update to rules since the STOCK Act was passed over a decade ago.
Under the STOCK Act, which was passed in 2012 and is the only legislation that reins in lawmakers’ trades, most members of Congress are still free to make trades that could conflict with their legislative duties — as long as they disclose the information within 45 days.
Still, congressional leaders are painting an optimistic picture for new legislation.
“We’re almost ready to move forward on this,” Chair of the House Administration Committee Rep. Zoe Lofgren told Punchbowl.