U.S. House Democrats release framework for bill to restrict members trading stocks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Democrats on Thursday released a framework for legislation that would restrict lawmakers and other senior government officials, including the Supreme Court, from trading in stocks.

The bill would also restrict lawmakers’ spouses and dependent children from trading stock and holding certain other investments, as well as require public officials to divest from such holdings or place them in a blind trust, according to the framework.

It would also toughen disclosure requirements and beef up penalties for officials who fail to complete those requirements in time, the framework said.

The legislation comes after U.S. media scrutiny of potential financial conflicts of interest in trading by officials and their families.

“These stories undermine the American people’s faith and trust in the integrity of public officials and our federal government.┬áMembers of the public may ask, are our public officials acting in the public interest or their private financial interest?” Zoe Lofgren, the chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, said in text accompanying the framework.

Lofgren said she would release legislative text “soon.”

The House may consider the legislation next week, according to a schedule announced by the House Majority Leader on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear what the bill’s chances of passage were in the Senate.

The White House has said President Joe Biden would leave it to Congress to decide the rules on members trading stocks.

(Reporting by Makini Brice; editing by Richard Pullin)