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Zoh Lovegelon, chairman of the House of Representatives' daily operations of the House of Representatives, announced the framework of "Banning Congres

Judd Toms

If a bill gets enough votes, members of the U.S. House and Senate, as well as Supreme Court justices who currently trade cryptocurrencies, may have to stop HODLing while in office.

Under the framework released Thursday, Zoe Lofgren, chair of the House Management Committee, which oversees the day-to-day running of the House, said she had a "meaningful and effective plan to combat financial conflicts of interest" in the U.S. Congress passed restrictions on lawmakers and SCOTUS Financial activities of judges and their spouses and children. The bill, if passed under the framework, would recommend a change in policy following the passage of the Congressional Knowledge Stop-Trading Act or the Stocks Act in 2012 to allow members of Congress to buy, sell and trade stocks and other investments while in office, and also require them to disclose such trade.

Congress can act to restore public confidence and trust in their public officials by restricting senior government officials—including members of Congress and the Supreme Court—and their spouses, and to ensure that those officials act in the public interest, not theirs private economic interests. Lofgren said:

She added:

"I will soon introduce the legislative text of the bill based on this reform framework. Many members have already concluded that reform is necessary."

The framework suggests that lawmakers and SCOTUS judges can still hold and disclose portfolios with diversified mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, treasuries and other investments that "do not present the same potential conflicts of interest." The bill’s framework also recommends that disclosure amounts be more precise, rather than the “extremely broad” range currently used — from $50,000 to $250,000, for example — and be made available to the public.

Under the Stocks Act, lawmakers must report the purchase, sale, or exchange of any investment over $45 within 1,000 to 30 days, but the law says the financial and legal consequences of not filing in time are minimal—sometimes as little as $200 late fee. The proposed framework recommends fines of $30 for every 1,000 days for individuals who violate disclosure rules, increases late fees to $500, and empowers the Justice Department to bring civil action if necessary. The House Press Gallery's Twitter account reported Thursday that the House of Representatives could consider the proposed legislation as early as next week.

Senators Jon Ossoff and Mark Kelly suggested similar reforms to the STOCK Act in the Senate in August, but the bill has not moved on for more than 8 months. According to Lofgren, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi commissioned a committee review of potential financial conflicts of interest in Congress. However, previous speakers opposed efforts to ban lawmakers from owning or trading stocks, saying "they should be able to participate".

Several House members and senators have disclosed their exposure to cryptocurrencies, including Illinois Rep. Mary Newman, Florida Rep. Michael Walz, Wyoming senator Cynthia Loomis, Texas Rep. Michael McCall, Pennsylvania Rep. Pat Toomey, Alabama Rep. Barrymore and New Jersey Rep. Jefferson Van Drew. In November 2021, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York said it was not appropriate for her to hold Bitcoin (BTC) or other digital assets because U.S. lawmakers have access to “sensitive information and upcoming policies.”