The Week (US)
Elected officials shouldn’t trade stocks
Financial conflicts of interest remain “alive and well in Washington,” said Timothy O’Brien. In 2012, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) fought for the passage of the STOCK Act, which aimed to combat insider trading, claiming that officeholders should not profit off the “special knowledge” they gain in government. But last week Paul divulged, 16 months late, that his wife invested in the maker of the coronavirus-fighting drug remdesivir on Feb. 26, 2020—just before most people realized we were entering a pandemic. “Many details remain murky” about the purchase, and an investigation is warranted. But “the basic problem is bipartisan” and widespread. Last year, fellow Sens. Kelly Loeffler, James Inhofe, Dianne Feinstein, and Richard Burr were investigated, though not charged, for potential insider trades made after an early briefing on Covid. Democratic New Jersey Rep. Tom Malinowski admitted in May that he’d failed to disclose up to $1 million in trades of stocks of companies involved in pandemic response. Clearly, the STOCK Act’s definition of “nonpublic information” is too easily evaded. To stop this ongoing scam, legislators, their staffers, and their families should be barred from investing in individual stocks.