Congressmen currently HODLing or actively trading cryptocurrencies may need to stop doing so while in office if recent attempts to ban lawmakers from investing in stocks gain enough support.
In a Monday letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, 27 members of the US House of Representatives called for action “to prohibit members of Congress from owning or trading stock.” Among the bipartisan group of lawmakers who signed the letter was Illinois Congressman Bill Foster, who is also a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus. Additionally, the letter appears to have the support of diametrically opposed politicians on major issues such as progressive Democrat Rashida Tlaib and Republican Matt Gaetz, who is reportedly under investigation by the Justice Department for alleged violation of traffic laws. sex and obstruction of justice.
Members of Congress can currently buy, sell, and trade stocks and other investments while in office, but they are also required to disclose such moves by the Suspension of Trading in Knowledge of Congress Act, or STOCK Act, passed in 2012. law requires lawmakers to report any purchase, sale, or trade of more than $1,000 within 30 to 45 days, but provides minimal financial and legal consequences for not filing on time. Monday’s letter noted that the STOCK Act “had been violated hundreds of times since 2020 alone.”
“It is clear that the current rules are not working”the letter to Pelosi and McCarthy said. “Congress should close these loopholes simply by prohibiting members from owning or trading individual stocks while in office. In addition to ensuring that members’ access to information does not benefit them over the public when trading stocks, as the STOCK Act sought, this would end the potential corruption of legislators seeking policy outcomes that benefit their portfolios.”
House members added:
“There is no reason why members of Congress should be allowed to trade stocks when we should be focused on doing our jobs and serving our constituents. Perhaps this means that some of our colleagues will miss out on lucrative investment opportunities. We don’t care. We came to Congress to serve our country, not to make a quick buck.”
Senators Jon Ossoff and Mark Kelly proposed similar legislation for the US Senate on January 12. Ossoff referenced a poll by advocacy group States Action Convention, which found that about 76% of voters said lawmakers and their spouses had an “unfair advantage and shouldn’t be allowed to trade stocks while they serve in Congress.
Speaker Pelosi does not appear to have responded to the House members’ letter. However, cWhen asked about a possible ban on lawmakers trading stocks in December, he said “we’re a free market economy, they should be able to participate in that.”
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose name did not appear in the letter to House Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, said in December that she believed members should not own or trade individual stocks, implying that doing so would allow them to “remain impartial about policy-making”. He added that he extended this belief to the possession of digital assets and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC).
Cointelegraph reported last Tuesday that seven members of Congress, both the Senate and the House, had declared investments in cryptocurrencies during their tenure. Among the lawmakers with the most reported exposure are New Jersey Rep. Jefferson Van Drew and Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis, who revealed a $250,000 2020 investment in a fund operated by Grayscale, and a BTC purchase. in 2021 of up to USD 100,000, respectively.
Cointelegraph reached out to representative Bill Foster for comment, but did not receive a response as of press time.