Saturday, April 13

Luria calls plan to ban stock trading in Congress “bulls—“

“Why would you assume that members of Congress are going to be inherently bad or corrupt?”

Congresswoman Elaine Luria

WASHINGTON (WAVY) — As momentum builds on Capitol Hill for a possible ban on stock trading for members of Congress, an idea that has broad bipartisan support, Virginia Rep. Elaine Luria is not on board.

“I think this whole concept is bull****,” Luria told Punchbowl News. “Because I think that, why would you assume that members of Congress are going to be inherently bad or corrupt?”

Luria, a Democrat who represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District, said she believes the current STOCK Act, a law passed in 2012 that requires members of Congress to report stock trades in an attempt to prevent insider trading and other conflicts of interest, is sufficient. The comment came just days after an investigation by Business Insider found 55 members of Congress violated the law in 2021 alone.

Punchbowl also reported that Democrat Rep. Cindy Axne of Iowa, who has been reported to have violated the STOCK Act at least 40 times, also raised concerns on the trading ban.

Luria’s comments to Punchbowl’s Max Cohen were in response to questions about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reversed stance on the ban on lawmaker stock trading. Pelosi said this week she would support a ban if members of her caucus wanted it, after shooting down the idea as recently as December. It came after broad public pressure and a planned discharge petition from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), The Intercept reported.

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Lawmakers working on stock trading bans say the often violated STOCK Act isn’t enough, including Luria’s colleague in the Virginia congressional delegation, Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-7th District).

Spanberger, who’s sponsoring the “TRUST in Congress Act” stock trading ban with Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, told NPR that the STOCK Act doesn’t work.

“It’s not just enough to know what members are buying or selling, it’s that they shouldn’t be buying or selling,” she said.

The push to ban trading has been gradually building over the years, but really took off in 2020 after then sitting Georgia Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue were scrutinized for allegedly using their positions to make trades based on inside knowledge on the coronavirus pandemic they received as senators.

North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr is also under investigation after ProPublica reported he dumped $1.7 million in stock after reassuring the public in early 2020 that the government was ready to battle the coronavirus.

Luria meanwhile owns millions of dollars in publicly-traded stock with her husband, in companies such as Facebook, Apple, Netflix and NVIDIA Corporation, records show.

Business Insider’s “Conflicted Congress” investigation into stock trading did give Luria a “solid” rating and found that she’s complied with laws currently on the books, including the STOCK Act.

When asked about Spanberger’s bill, Luria told Punchbowl “I’ve talked to her,” and said “I know that I don’t agree with her on this issue. I mean, we’re great friends together in Virginia, but it was an issue where we differ.”

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Luria, a Navy veteran, is running for her third term in Congress in 2022. The centrist Democrat is considered in danger of losing her seat due to recent redistricting and the history of a new president’s party usually performing poorly in the first midterm elections.

A spokesperson for Luria told Business Insider her comments “speak for themselves.”

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