TOLEDO, Ohio. Senate candidate J.D. Vance said lawmakers should be banned from trading stocks while they are in office, joining a cause that is 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 City Hall event on Thursday. “That’s something you can really do on a bipartisan level.”
The argument against legislators who own and trade individual stocks is that, due to the nature of their job, they are aware of information that the average person does not have—the very definition of insider trading.
Vance told the public that his favorite social media skits make fun of Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whose husband’s lucrative stock deals made her an investment meme. Pelosi’s camp has stated that she herself does not own the shares and is not involved in her husband’s deals.
“Nancy Pelosi is privy to classified information… that she then trades stocks and [gets] get rich for yourself in a way that no private investor in the country can do,” Vance said.
Asked what he would do with his assets if elected, Vance said it was premature to think about it.
“I think it would probably make the most sense to give this to blind trust,” he told HuffPost.
Senators Josh Hawley (R-M.) and John Ossoff (D-G.) introduced separate bills this week to prevent members of Congress and their families from trading in certain stocks.
Vance said he supported Hawley’s law but did not see Ossoff’s law. Hawley supported 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 information. He owns stakes in companies in various sectors, including technology and healthcare, as well as $50,000 to $100,000 worth of Walmart stock.
The Senate nominee began the first day of his “No BS” tour of Ohio, where seven equally wealthy Republicans compete in the primary for outgoing GOP Senator Rob Portman.
Vance also told HuffPost he doesn’t know if he will support Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader if the Republicans regain their seat in the House. McConnell has been at loggerheads with former President Donald Trump, who has influence at the GOP base and recently called McConnell an “old broken crow” for helping Democrats raise the national 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 about the leadership contest because I don’t even know who’s going to run.”
Asked if he’s been vaccinated and boosted against the coronavirus, Vance said he received his first two shots and scoffed at Trump’s recent remark that politicians who don’t say if they’ve been boosted are “weak-hearted.”
“I thought it was a funny comment,” he said.