The public has been calling for a ban on Congressional stock trading for months, but so far virtually nothing has been done about this growing problem. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             The public has been calling for a ban on congressional stock trading for months now, but so far virtually nothing’s been done about this growing problem. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins joins me to talk about this and many other issues today. Farron, as I look at this, we’ve been, I guess we’ve been doing this story for a long time now, saying why don’t they do something about it? It’s almost like they’re trying to run out the clock, isn’t it?

Farron Cousins:                  It, it, it really is because this has been an issue, you know, really in the last year it’s picked up. People finally started paying attention because I think we had a total of what, 126 members of Congress.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  From the House and Senate that have violated this.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  Using the knowledge that they’ve got from these bills to trade stocks.

Mike Papantonio:             And the numbers are staggering, frankly.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah, it really is.

Mike Papantonio:             The, the, the money that they’re making, talk about some of the issues. You, in other words, they know that something’s gonna go on with drilling and then they go energy stock. They know something’s gonna happen with a war, they buy defense stock. Isn’t that kind of happening?

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. It’s, it’s exactly right. When they’re crafting these budgets, essentially, especially the defense budget they know. Okay. Well Raytheon is about to get $2 billion from the government.

Mike Papantonio:             Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins:                  I’m gonna go ahead and make the phone call to my broker, say, hey, let’s uh, pick up some Raytheon here. They’re about to get a big thing. And that is a violation again of the Stock Act. But the Stock Act, it, it basically carries a $200 penalty if you violate it, but they’re making hundreds of thousands of dollars. So it’s just a $200 fee to do business.

Mike Papantonio:             If you had that kind of insider information and you weren’t in Congress that can put you in prison, can’t it?

Farron Cousins:                  Oh yeah. For a very long.

Mike Papantonio:             Is there, is maybe, am I missing something? Is there anything different here?

Farron Cousins:                  No. And, and as far as we can tell, this really is insider trading. You have knowledge that is not available to the general public that is directly going to affect the stocks of these corporations and you’re using that money, or that knowledge, to make money for yourself. That is textbook insider trading. But when you’re in Congress, they let you do it for, you know, the $200 fee.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, both Republicans and the Democrats are saying that it’s Pelosi who is stonewalling this.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             And then it brings in this story about her husband who is like a stock trading maniac, made millions trading stock. What’s your take on that?

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. I, I think at the end of the day it does come down to Pelosi. You know, she is the one in charge of the House of Representatives where this thing would really need to kick off. We’ve actually had some pretty decent talks in the Senate. Even Republicans came up with their own version of a bill.

Mike Papantonio:             Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins:                  You can get the numbers in the Senate if you actually try. But it’s Pelosi kind of stonewalling it in the House and like you said, it’s the Democrats that are saying, Pelosi’s not letting us move on this. She’s been reluctant. She says publicly she’s willing to do it. But that only came after she said, she’s not willing to do it.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Well she said it’s, she wasn’t willing to do it a few times. It wasn’t just one statement.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             I’m not willing to do this and then all of a sudden she says I am, but nothing’s happening. She’s stonewalling. And Schumer’s coming to her defense by saying, well, look, it’s the Russian invasion. It’s Roe V Wade. It’s COVID. It’s, you know, the, the baby formula. It is the president’s going down the tubes. So we don’t have time for this.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. We can’t do two things at once. We just don’t have that kind of skill, I guess, in the House of Representatives.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. So the only person that I, I think seriously is taking a look at this consistently is Elizabeth Warren.

Farron Cousins:                  Yep.

Mike Papantonio:             Elizabeth Warren is, is a true believer in making this stop. And what it would do is just simply say, look, while you’re, while you’re in this office, you can’t trade stock. I suppose you could have blind trading trust. You could, there’s a lot of things you can do.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             But you can’t rely on the information that you have.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. This isn’t going as far as to say, you’re not allowed to own it, which is what, what I would like to see. I know that’s extreme, but all this is saying is, listen, you don’t get to make the calls.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  It goes into a blind trust. They send you your statement every month. You can see what you made and beyond that, you can’t do anything else with that information.

Mike Papantonio:             No, no communication with the person running that.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             That, that trust.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.