Nick Cleveland-Stout observes that, “banning lawmakers from owning stocks would stymie war profiteering.” True dat.
Also true: Banning lawmakers from owning stocks would stymie energy profiteering, banning lawmakers from owning stocks would stymie finance and banking profiteering, and banning lawmakers from owning stocks would stymie agricultural profiteering.
Unfortunately, the currently polity, including corrupt Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment) avatar Nancy Pelosi, want the money:
Yesterday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to the chairs of the Committee on House Administration urging them to advance legislation banning members of Congress from directly owning or trading stocks while in office.
The letter, sent by 19 lawmakers ranging from Mark Pocan (D-WI) to Matt Gaetz (R-FL) outlined three key provisions: preventing family members and children from owning stock, banning exceptions for stock owned prior to entering office, and backing up any legislation with effective enforcement.
Congressional stock trading restrictions would disproportionately impact the national security space; A Sludge 2021 analysis of financial holdings found that “The maximum value of the investments held by federal lawmakers in the ‘Big Five’ contractors — Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics — is over $2.6 million, making up nearly 39% of the total stock holdings identified.”
If lawmakers continue to profit off of war through their stocks in defense companies, Americans will continue to lose trust in Congress to look out for their interests. There is some dispute about whether Dwight Eisenhower originally intended to use the phrase “Military Industrial Congressional Complex” or not. There can’t be any dispute today, however, to Congress’ culpability in perpetuating the self-licking ice cream cone to their own benefit. With growing pressure from the public, it’s now their role to fix it and block one avenue of Congressional war profiteering.
Much of the problem of corruption in our politics does not arise from people breaking the law, it comes from doing things that are legal, but should not be.