Additional attention in this area is a mutually supportive term at a time when many things are lacking. In June representatives Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, and Abigail Spanberger, Democrat of Virginia, presented the so-called Trust Act.
The bill would require their colleagues, spouses and dependent children to use a qualified blind trust, as do Mr Ossoff and Mr Kelly. With such vehicles, a third party, if any, would control individual stocks and some other fixed assets and prevent the beneficiary from knowing much about the contents or from trading with expertise about upcoming laws. (It would be okay to own and trade collective investments like mutual funds.)
“This is about making things easier for members of Congress,” Roy said at the time.
And let’s not forget what I set out at length in a November column: In the end, if they (or their stockbrokers) no longer believe they are smart enough to beat the market, they will all have more money, on average. The studies on this are legion, and one particularly funny study showed how bad the people in Congress, on average, were when they tried to outsmart the market between 2004 and 2008.
It is perhaps not surprising that those who would be elected officials would not be passive investors. The same heightened self-esteem that drives many of them to run for office could lead them to believe they have some sort of superpower in stock picking. They almost certainly don’t – and neither do the financial advisors who incriminate them well. Maybe someday they’ll come to their senses.
Others may own stocks or trade them to blow off steam as a form of gambling. If they can afford to lose the money and really aren’t using inside information or able to influence the policies that affect the companies they bet on, then there’s no real harm.
But do you want to lose elections over it?
Of course, stock trading wasn’t the only problem in Georgia. But in purple parts of the country or in districts where upstarts in their own party would try to advocate, these newly elected officials could be vulnerable. If they avoid individual stocks for political rather than principled reasons, so be it. It’s all for the best.