Rep. Peter Welch has promised that he and his wife will stop stock trading, after reports that he failed to promptly disclose sales his family made earlier this year.
The Vermont Democrat’s pledge comes amid scrutiny of his wife’s sale of $6,238 worth of ExxonMobil shares that were reported a week late in September.
“Representative Welch has decided to no longer own individual stocks,” Welch spokeswoman Arianna Jones told Insider, which had led an investigation into lawmakers and congressional staff who may have violated federal insider-trading laws.
Ms. Jones added that the pledge also will apply to Mr. Welch’s wife.
The Insider report found 52 members of Congress and 182 senior staffers were in violation of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012, which makes it illegal for lawmakers to use insider information to trade stocks.
Earlier this month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended lawmakers’ ability to buy and trade stocks.
“We are a free market economy. They should be able to participate in that,” the California Democrat told reporters.
Mrs. Pelosi herself faced one reporting violation from a senior staffer in her office.
The speaker’s reaction prompted mixed reactions from her caucus.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat and a liberal firebrand, called for all members to be banned from trading stocks while in office.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez called it “absolutely ludicrous” that members can hold and trade individual stocks while serving in office.
Rep. Abigail Spanberger, Virginia Democrat and member of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition, also rejected Mrs. Pelosi’s defense.
“It cannot be a perk of the job for members to trade on access to information,” Ms. Spanberger tweeted.
• Mica Soellner can be reached at email@example.com.
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