- Sen. Elizabeth Warren called out the “brazenness” of lawmakers who flouted a federal disclosure law.
- An Insider investigation found that dozens of members of Congress violated the STOCK Act.
- The “Conflicted Congress” project found members of Congress trading stocks in industries they’ve criticized.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren denounced the “brazenness” of members of Congress who have flouted a federal law meant to stem insider trading in Congress and called for stronger enforcement in response to a new Insider investigation.
“Conflicted Congress,” a five-month Insider investigation, found 49 members of Congress and 182 senior-level congressional staffers have violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, commonly known as the STOCK Act. The 2012 federal conflict-of-interest law requires members and staff to disclose their stock trades and seeks to prevent those in the halls of power from personally cashing in on the information they learn behind closed doors.
The investigation found dozens of cases of lawmakers trading stocks in industries and companies, like big tech firms, pharmaceutical companies, and fossil fuel producers, that they directly oversee or have publicly criticized.
“We need both tougher laws and enforcement of those laws,” the Massachusetts Democrat told Insider in an interview at the Capitol on Tuesday. “The American people should never have to guess whether or not an elected official is advancing an issue or voting on a bill based on what’s good for the country or what’s good for their own personal financial interests.”
Warren called out the “brazenness of people who think it’s okay to be in a position of trust to represent the people of this country, and at the same time to be working to advance your own financial interests,” adding, “it’s just wrong.”
When it comes to financial wrongdoing, Congress acts its own policeman, resulting in little accountability in many cases.
Warren, a consumer protection lawyer who taught at Harvard Law School, has consistently advocated for stronger financial transparency requirements for members of Congress and government officials. In 2020, she re-introduced a bill to ban members of Congress from trading individual stocks.
Warren told Insider that for now, the solution “starts with just enforcement.”
“Bring the charges, pull them out. Make it clear publicly,” she said. “The strongest enforcement is to make known what they are doing and for the voters to retire them forcibly.”