Walter Shaub, appointed director of the Office of Government Ethics by Barack Obama in 2013, slammed Nancy Pelosi’s comments yesterday in which she defended lawmakers trading stocks.
Obama’s ethics chief called her remarks “disgusting.”
The Political Insider reported earlier this week that dozens of lawmakers, according to a Business Insider analysis, have violated conflict-of-interest laws while numerous others have personally invested in industries under their purview.
That in-depth analysis focused on violations of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, as well as whether or not members of Congress or their spouses buy and sell individual stocks in companies.
House Speaker Pelosi is herself listed in the report as ‘borderline’ meaning her personal finances “deserve greater scrutiny.”
‘Conflicted Congress’: Key findings from Insider’s five-month investigation into federal lawmakers’ personal finances https://t.co/mHUELPmsAg
— Insider (@thisisinsider) December 13, 2021
Nancy Pelosi Defends Lawmakers Trading Stocks
Nancy Pelosi gave a full-throated defense of lawmakers trading stocks, despite the obvious conflicts in lobbying and insider knowledge.
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When asked whether or not members of Congress and their spouses should be barred from holding or trading individual stocks while in office, she didn’t hesitate.
“We’re a free-market economy,” Pelosi told reporters during a press briefing. “They should be able to participate in that.”
She did, however, say that lawmakers should be abiding by the STOCK Act and disclosing their transactions.
“If people aren’t reporting, they should be,” she said.
According to the Business Insider report, a senior staff member of Pelosi’s violated that very Act.
REPORTER: “Should members of congress and their spouses be banned from trading individual stocks while serving in congress?”
PELOSI: “No…We are a free market economy. They should be able to participate in that.” pic.twitter.com/2SNqSCwFEU
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) December 15, 2021
Pelosi’s Comments ‘Disgusting’
Shaub fired off an email to Fox News regarding Nancy Pelosi’s comments on lawmakers being allowed to trade stocks.
“What a disgusting comment,” he chastised. “This is the opposite of government ethics.”
— Kyle Morris (@RealKyleMorris) December 15, 2021
Shaub continued by explaining lawmakers weren’t forced into suffering from their paltry $174,000 minimum annual salary.
“Nobody kidnapped these members of Congress when they were private citizens, dragged them to Washington and forced them to be in Congress,” he added.
“The American people are sick of members of Congress buying and selling stock and creating the appearance of trading on insider information.”
Even Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who doesn’t understand much of anything, understands that.
It is absolutely ludicrous that members of Congress can hold and trade individual stock while in office.
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. https://t.co/Z3UZej2eC2
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 8, 2021
Obama’s ethics chief concluded that lawmakers should be free to buy government bonds or diversified mutual funds but “they should absolutely be banned from trading stocks.”
Shaub resigned from the Office of Government Ethics in 2017 calling former President Donald Trump’s administration a “disappointment” in terms of running their ethics program.
Pelosi seized on his departure at the time as an example of integrity being driven out of the administration.
“Director Shaub is an honest, independent public servant who has dedicated his career to safeguarding the American people from government officials who would prioritize private gain over the public good,” she said in a statement.
“Director Shaub’s resignation is a sad consequence of the Trump Administration’s constant ethical breaches, and comes at a moment of crisis for the democratic process.”
Will Pelosi be issuing a statement now that the same man has called out her colleagues in Congress’ own ‘ethical breaches’?
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