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American Voters Say Corruption is a Concern


There’s no doubt that Congress has an ethics problem. Its members have undermined public confidence with stock trades and other activities that create the appearance of abusing their positions for private gain. The Justice Department prosecuted former Representative Chris Collins (R-NY) for insider trading he committed at the White House, and last year a court sentenced him to 26 months in prison before President Donald Trump pardoned him.
Stock trades by other members of Congress and their spouses drew public ire in recent years, though the Justice Department found no grounds for charges. The spouse of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) bought stock worth millions in Google’s parent company, Alphabet, shortly before the House of Representatives announced milder-than-expected action against big tech companies. Before the public knew the extent of the threat COVID-19 posed, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and former Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) collectively dumped millions of dollars’ worth of stock in companies likely to be affected by the pandemic. More recent reporting has raised questions as to whether Senator Burr shared nonpublic information with his brother-in-law, and whether his brother-in-law made trades based on that information. In one Senate term, former Senator David Perdue (R-GA) engaged in 2,596 trades, some involving companies potentially affected by the activities of committees on which he served. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) did not disclose his spouse’s February 26, 2020, purchase of drug manufacturer stock for over a year. Insider reported last month that, this year alone, 43 members of Congress — including Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Representative Susie Lee (D-NV), among others — failed to comply with disclosure requirements for stock trades.
These are only a few examples of a broader pattern of conduct that has undermined public confidence in Congress. Transformative change is overdue.