U.S. House Speaker Pelosi says banning member stock trades possible

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U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 20, 2022. Eric Lee/Pool via REUTERS

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WASHINGTON, Jan 20 (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday signaled her willingness to advance legislation that could ban lawmaker stock trades, if her rank-and-file Democrats support such a move.

At her weekly news conference, Pelosi was asked about tightening controls on stock transactions. She responded: "If members (of the House) want to do that, I'm OK with that."

Currently, representatives are required to disclose stock sale transactions within a prescribed number of days or face penalties. The requirement is aimed at tackling any appearances of a conflict of interest by House members who could be working on legislation affecting companies or certain investors.

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Pelosi added that any suspicions of insider trading by members of Congress would be subject to investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Her remarks were a departure from a month ago when she defended lawmakers engaging in stock market trading.

On Thursday, Pelosi prefaced her remarks by saying she had "great confidence in the integrity of my members."

"To give a blanket attitude of we can't do this and we can't do that because we can't be trusted, I just don't buy into that," the top House Democrat said.

The House Administration Committee, which would have primary jurisdiction over such legislation, is reviewing bills that are being drafted, Pelosi said.

Meantime, Pelosi criticized the U.S. Supreme Court for having lax rules. "When we go forward with anything let's take the Supreme Court with us to have disclosure," she said.

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Reporting by Richard Cowan; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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