More Republican Senators Trade in the Stock Market Than Democrats, Records Show

During a Wednesday press briefing, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she opposes placing a ban on congressional lawmakers and their spouses from trading stock, saying "We're a free market economy," and that they "should be able to participate in that."

The issue of members of Congress trading in stock has been a point of contention in recent months, as a December 14 report by Insider identified that 49 members of Congress had failed to adequately report their financial transactions as dictated under the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012, known as the STOCK Act.

Given that lawmakers are privy to certain information by virtue of their positions, questions have been raised over whether their ability to trade creates potential conflicts of interest. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts appears to think so, calling out the "brazenness" of such actions in an interview with Insider.

With progressives like Warren and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez often expressing the loudest opposition toward congressional trading, Newsweek conducted an analysis of where active trading within the upper chamber broken down along party lines. According to financial disclosures provided by the Senate Office of Public Records 16 Republicans, 13 Democrats, and one independent provided stock trade disclosures in 2021.

This analysis focused on periodic transaction reports filed by U.S. senators. If the report listed a stock sale or purchase by that member or their spouse, their name was included in this list. Transactions by the children of senators were not included in the criteria, nor were the transactions of bonds, municipal securities, blind trusts or other securities.

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Forty-nine members of Congress have violated the STOCK act. The U.S. Capitol is seen above at dusk on January 21, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Republican senators who reported stock transactions in their reports were:

Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, John Boozman of Arkansas, Roger Marshall and Jerry Moran of Kansas, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky, Susan Collins of Maine, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Shelly Capito of West Virginia, and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming.

The Democratic senators who reported stock transactions in their reports were:

Mark Kelly of Arizona, Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Thomas Carper and Christopher Coons of Delaware, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Gary Peters of Michigan, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also reported trades.

Newsweek previously reported on the stock transactions of Congressional Progressive Caucus members Representative Lois Frankel of Florida and Representative Ro Khanna of California. In an interview with Khanna, the congressman stated that "any investments in question are my wife's from before we were married, and it is not my place to dictate what she does with her money."

Such a statement raises the question of what restrictions should be placed on the spouse of a lawmaker that does not abridge their personal freedoms while also protecting against the sharing of information that could influence stock trades.

When it comes to individual members of Congress trading stock, Representative Ocasio-Cortez offered a firm position on Twitter:

"It is absolutely ludicrous that members of Congress can hold and trade individual stock while in office," she wrote. "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."