But instead of accepting Ms. Spanberger’s measure, Ms. Pelosi sent a close ally, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat and chair of the Management Committee, to write a different bill. The speaker’s only requirement, she said, was that he cover both the judiciary and Congress.
That invoice, released Tuesday night, would eliminate most financial asset trading for lawmakers, their spouses, dependent children, senior staff aides and federal judges, including Supreme Court justices. It would allow them to hold investments through financial holding structures known as blind trusts – in which the owner does not know how the assets are managed – and certain other types of investments, such as broad-based mutual funds, state or municipal bonds and some companies. relatives.
Lawmakers would have six months to get rid of their individual actions. The bill would also increase the fees members must pay if they don’t comply and empower the Justice Department to bring civil action against violators.
Some ethics experts hailed the move as an essential step toward regaining confidence in Congress.
“While this bill has room for improvement with respect to the scope of officials covered and potential loopholes, it responds to voters’ calls for reform,” Trevor Potter, president of the Campaign Legal Center, said in a statement. statements Thursday.
But others derided the bill as ineffective, citing a provision that would allow Congress and other government bodies vote to allow its members to hold any other type of investment trust are permissible. Skeptics also advocated stronger disclosure requirements.
The recoil was also coming from inside the house. Fifteen Republicans sent a letter to Mrs. Lofgren on September 16, complaining that they had not been meaningfully included in negotiations on the bill and arguing that it was intended to score “cheap political points rather than pass sound policy.”
At the same time, some Democrats also said they had been completely left out of Ms. Lofgren’s legislative process. Many lawmakers barely had a chance to review the bill before Hoyer announced it was being shelved.