TOLEDO, Ohio — Senate candidate J.D. Vance said lawmakers should be banned from trading stocks while in office, joining a cause gaining momentum on both sides of the aisle.
“I think it should be illegal for members of Congress to trade stocks in this country,” the Republican said at a town hall event on Thursday. “That is something you can actually get done on a bipartisan level.”
The argument against lawmakers owning and trading individual stocks is that due to the nature of their jobs, they’re clued in to information the average person doesn’t have — the very definition of insider trading.
Vance told the audience that his favorite parody social media accounts poke fun at Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose husband’s lucrative stock trades have made her an investing meme. Pelosi’s camp has said she doesn’t own any stock herself, nor is she involved in her husband’s transactions.
“Nancy Pelosi is privy to secret information ... that she then turns around into stock trades and [gets] rich for herself in a way that no private investor in the country is good at,” Vance said.
Asked what he would do with his own assets if elected, Vance said it was premature to think about.
“I think probably put it in a blind trust is the thing that would make the most sense,” he told HuffPost.
This week, Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) introduced separate bills that would ban members of Congress and their families from trading individual stocks.
Vance said he said supports Hawley’s legislation but hasn’t seen Ossoff’s. Hawley has endorsed Vance’s campaign.
Vance’s own pockets are deep. The venture capitalist and best-selling author is worth between $4.3 million and $10.5 million, according to his financial disclosure. He owns stakes in companies in a variety of sectors, including tech and health care, and between $50,000 and $100,000 in Walmart stock.
The Senate candidate was kicking off the first day of his “No B.S.” tour across Ohio, where seven similarly wealthy Republicans are competing in a primary for retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman’s seat.
Vance also told HuffPost that he doesn’t know whether he would back Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for majority leader if Republicans retake the chamber. McConnell has been on the outs with former President Donald Trump, who holds sway with the GOP base and recently called McConnell an “old broken crow” for helping Democrats raise the debt ceiling.
“I think the problem that we have in the Republican Party is really deep, and it affects membership and affects leadership,” Vance said. “I’m not going to make any commitments on the leadership contest because I don’t even know who’s going to run.”
Asked whether he’s been vaccinated and boosted against the coronavirus, Vance said he got the first two shots and laughed off Trump’s recent remark that politicians who won’t say whether they’re boosted are “gutless.”
“I thought it was a funny comment,” he said.