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House Could Vote on Congressional Stock Trading Ban Next Week

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The U.S. House of Representatives is poised to vote on a congressional stock trading ban.

The STOCK Act would likely encompass Supreme Court justices as well as lawmakers, and according to Business Insider, that plus the relatively short time lawmakers have had to consider the bill, might keep it from passing in the Senate.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif), the chair of the Committee on House Administration, wrote a “Dear Colleague” letter on Thursday in which she released a framework for the legislation titled, “Combatting Financial Conflicts of Interest and Restoring Public Faith and Trust in Government.”

Lofgren’s framework includes information about inclusions in the bill that stock-ban advocates have reportedly requested, including ensuring immediate family members of lawmakers are also encompassed in the ban on stock trading.

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Additionally, the framework calls for mandatory electronic filing of financial disclosures for lawmakers, “more granularity” in the disclosing of financial trades, and a ban on senior government officials and their immediate family members from trading cryptocurrencies.

Currently, disclosures about the value of financial trades have broad ranges, such as from $100,000 to $250,000 or $1 million to $5 million.

Included in the framework is a call for a penalty increase for the violation of the STOCK Act, raising the level from $200 to $1,000 every 30-days the member of congress isn’t in compliance, also calling for transparency around the enforcement of that measure.

“A number of bills that have been introduced to date address some of these issues and include thoughtful proposals, but no one bill addresses each of these four elements with this level of detail,” Lofgren wrote. “I will soon introduce legislative text for a bill built on this framework for reform.”

Is this a good idea?

The inclusion of Supreme Court justices could be the “poison pill” included in this legislation, according to Business Insider, as its presence makes it unlikely that the legislation will pass the Senate.

In her letter to her colleagues, Lofgren stated, “Across the entire federal government, there have been significant stories regarding financial conflicts of interest in relation to stock trading and ownership.

“Collectively, these stories undermine the American people’s faith and trust in the integrity of public officials and our federal government,” Lofgren added.

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