A blind trust would help those tempted to stay clean

Dozens of members of Congress have bought and sold stocks hundreds of times throughout the coronavirus pandemic, including some trades that may have been prompted by information that came to them in the course of their official duties, a new analysis shows.

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Opinion

May 13, 2020 - 9:35 AM

Dozens of members of Congress have bought and sold stocks hundreds of times throughout the coronavirus pandemic, including some trades that may have been prompted by information that came to them in the course of their official duties, a new analysis shows. This obvious conflict of interest should motivate voters to demand that their representatives ban themselves from personally making stock-trade decisions.

The issue first erupted in March when a few lawmakers were revealed to have made advantageous stock decisions related to the coronavirus just as cases were starting to be diagnosed in this country. Those same lawmakers had access to privileged official information and analyses about the crisis that ordinary Americans didn’t have.

On the same January day when the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention briefed Congress on the projected, dire economic effects of the coming pandemic, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Georgia, began dumping millions of dollars in stocks just before their value plummeted. She also purchased stock in a maker of teleconferencing products that would soon be in high demand. In the same period, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., dumped at least $628,000 stocks that included several hotel companies whose value later plummeted.

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