POLL: Overwhelming Majority Of Americans Say Lawmakers Should Be Banned From Trading Stocks

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WASHINGTON DC - APRIL 28 2009: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi congressional rally with anti-poverty advocates on Capitol Hill after their meetings with elected officials during Sojourners' Mobilization to End Poverty conference.

The majority of Americans believe members of Congress should be banned from trading stocks while in office, according to a new poll.

Among a sample of Americans likely to vote in general elections, 76% believed lawmakers should not be allowed to trade stocks, according to a Trafalgar Group/Convention of States Action poll first reported by The Hill.

Just 5% of respondents approved of lawmakers trading stocks, and 19% had no opinion.

The results of the poll follow comments last month by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in which she addressed questions on the ethics of members of Congress trading stocks, prompted by a report cataloging lawmakers’ trading activity. Pelosi, a frequent trader who has profited significantly during her time in Congress, defended the practice.

“This is a free market and people,” Pelosi said. “We are a free market economy and we should be able to participate in that.”

However, the practice has drawn criticism from other lawmakers, including Democratic Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff, who is reportedly set to introduce a bill banning members of Congress from trading individual stocks.

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“In an era of hyper-partisanship, voters in all parties agree that members of Congress should not be enriching themselves using ‘insider information’ while serving the people,” Mark Meckler, president of Convention of States Action, said in a statement to The Hill. “This issue has received a lot of attention, and this data verifies the American people want this practice to end once and for all.”

The poll surveyed 1,706 likely voters from Dec. 17-21, and it had a margin of error of 3 points.

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