Amid growing scrutiny of trading activity among various public officials, several lawmakers have proposed legislation that would bar their colleagues from trading individual stocks – an idea supported by a majority of voters across political parties, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll.
What the numbers say
- Sixty-three percent of all voters say that lawmakers should be banned from stock trading. A majority of Democratic and Republican voters back a ban, at 69 percent and 58 percent, respectively.
- Independent voters are also in favor of a ban on stock trades for members of Congress, splitting the difference at 64 percent.
- Support for a ban on stock trading among lawmakers’ families also enjoys majority support, with 57 percent of all voters backing such a measure. Fifty-nine percent of Democrats and 54 percent of GOP voters support that policy.
Beyond the numbers
- The survey was conducted after members of the Senate recently introduced legislation targeting trading activity. Sens. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) put a bill forward that would require lawmakers, their spouses and their dependent children to put individual stocks in a blind trust, while Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) proposed a competing bill. The new legislation follows a trading restriction bill introduced in the House in 2020 by Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas).
- Movement on the issue comes after an Insider investigation found dozens of lawmakers violated laws around stock trading while in office. When asked about a potential ban, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), whose husband is an active trader, said “we are a free-market economy” and that members of Congress and their spouses “should be able to participate in that.”
- Congressional momentum also follows a trading scandal that pushed former Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida into leaving the central bank early. The Fed’s Boston and Dallas chiefs also stepped down following scrutiny of their trading activities.
The Jan. 15-16, 2022, poll was conducted among a representative sample of 2,005 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.