Viking Call

Upper Merion High's Student Newspaper


Restrictions on Congress Members Stock: Justified or Unjustified?

Congress members! 

  The leaders of our nation! 

   A new debate has emerged on what restrictions we must have on our leadership. A new bill has emerged, called the Ban Congressional Stock Trading Act, which would force Congress members and their family to either sell or assign their stocks to be managed independently and without supervision by another individual or group within 120 days of becoming a Congress member or within 120 days of the bill passing into law. This bill was introduced and made by democratic senators John Ossof and Mark Kelly. These types of restrictions have been opposed by Speaker of the House of Representative, Nancy Pelosi, who argues that “We {United States} are a free market economy. They {congress members and their family} should be able to participate in that” (Walsh).

  I personally disagree with Pelosi and I agree and support this bill mentioned above. I believe that Congress members and their family should not be able to sell or buy stocks while in office, for I believe that it is extremely difficult, yet alone maybe impossible, to not use secret information that they get while governing to illegally benefit them in their stock trading activities. At least 4 already were accused and have already or are currently being examined and investigated for insider trading according to Forbes (Kelley). Now that may not seem like a lot, but those were the only ones to become public and scrutinized enough to be investigated, and now I don’t want to conduct a witch hunt, but there is a possibility that more congress members have done insider trading and just haven’t been caught for it. 

  Why bother? Why bother with this undermining of the very leaders that we should have confidence in, that we should be able to confidently say are not corrupt and are just loyal public servants. I personally feel that it is much easier for both the public conscience and for the senators to have this bill passed, as this bill can ensure senators that their opponents and the job has one less possibility for scandal and for condemnation and for criticism.

  I also believe that the Congress members and their family can be expected to sacrifice their ability to do this activity for the public good. I believe that this bill could be beneficial and allow Congress members to conduct policy and hearings without being constantly hounded by criticism that they are just supporting policies and bills and hearings for personal gain. I believe that Congress members are paid enough to justify ensuring that the job has one less possibility for conflict of interest. 

A lawyer is expected to ensure that no conflict of interest is present for their clients and in lawsuits and cases, and I feel that the same should apply to Congress members! They are our leaders, they are the ones that shape our policy, they are the ones shape our laws, that shape our future and we cannot afford for the public to delegitimize our leaders by having the perception that the Congress members are corrupt and are  utilizing their job as leader of the nation to benefit their personal acquisition of money. Additionally, it is not like the bill is taking away Congress Members property without compensation or at a loss! Insiead, it is just ensuring that Congress Members have one less instance of a possibility for a conflict of interest and are not able to use their status as leaders to corruptly benefit them personally.


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