As Nancy Pelosi Opposes Stocks Ban, These Officials Have Made the Most From Trading

While Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has voiced opposition to measures that would prohibit Congress members from owning or selling stocks while in office, numerous elected officials have profited immensely from trading.

"We are a free-market economy," Pelosi told reporters on Wednesday when asked about the practice. "(Congress members) should be able to participate in that."

However, Democratic New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently voiced support for a ban on congressional stock trading. She called it "absolutely ludicrous" that Congress members can trade stock with the information, access and influence that they have.

Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Jeff Merkley of Oregon have both introduced legislation that would ban Congress members from making such trades.

Merkley's bill gained bipartisan support, and the law forbids Congress members from using the knowledge they gain from their elected positions to conduct "insider trading" of stocks.

Nevertheless, lawmakers have made millions from the buying and selling of stocks.

While Pelosi doesn't own any stock, her husband Paul Pelosi reportedly made $5 million after obtaining 4,000 shares of Google's parent company Alphabet.

Pelosi stock trading ban Congress members
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has denounced a bill that would ban Congress members from owning or trading stocks while in office. Meanwhile, numerous elected officials have profited tremendously from stocks. In this photo, Pelosi speaks during her weekly news conference February 6, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong/Getty

More than 220 other representatives and senators aside from the individuals listed below own individual stocks, according to the news website Insider. That number represents over 40 percent of Congress members. Together, they held at least $225 million in stock assets during 2020.

The Congress members below represent a fraction of those who've made large sums from their own stock trades. All of the members below also initially failed to disclose their holdings or trades as required by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012, according to Insider's "Conflicted Congress" tracking project.

Democratic New York Representative Tom Suozzi made about 300 stock transactions from 2017 to 2020. The trades represented somewhere between $3.2 million and $11 million in value, according to the Campaign Legal Center.

Republican Tennessee Representative Diana Harshbarger reportedly made 700 stock trades worth as much as $10.9 million.

Democratic Nevada Representative Susie Lee made over 200 stock trades between early 2020 and mid-2021 collectively worth as much as $3.3 million.

Republican Oklahoma Representative Kevin Hern made about $2.7 million in nearly two dozen stock trades.

Republican North Carolina Senator Richard Burr sold off between $628,000 and $1.72 million in stock holdings in mid-February. He made the trades a week before the COVID-19 pandemic sent the U.S. stock market downward.

Burr, who is a member of the House Health Committee, said he decided to sell based on public information and not the closed-door pandemic briefings he received in Congress.

Republican Texas Representative Blake Moore made as much as $1.1 million in dozens of stock trades from early to mid-2021.

Newsweek contacted the aforementioned Congress members for comment.