Hakeem Jeffries says Democrats 'certainly aren't going to be lectured on ethics by Kevin McCarthy of all people,' but won't commit to stock-trading ban

Hakeem Jeffries says Democrats 'certainly aren't going to be lectured on ethics by Kevin McCarthy of all people,' but won't commit to stock-trading ban
House Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images and Samuel Corum/Getty Images
  • Hakeem Jeffries slammed GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy following reports he's interested in banning stock-trading.
  • "Does anyone take this guy seriously on any issue, particularly as it relates to ethics?" he asked.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, chair of the House Democratic caucus, slammed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday following reports that the top House Republican is supportive of a stock-trading ban for members of Congress.

Insider asked Jeffries about McCarthy's reported interest in curtailing stock trades — either via blind trusts or requiring members to only hold mutual funds — if Republicans retake the House majority this year.

"With respect to Kevin McCarthy, does anyone take this guy seriously on any issue particularly as it relates to ethics," said Jeffries, adding that House Democrats had passed the For The People Act, a sweeping ethics reform and voting rights bill. "He doesn't want to disrupt the system, he is part of the status quo that defends the wealthy, the well-off and the well-connected."

But when pressed by Insider about whether Democrats would support such a reform as well, Jeffries demurred.

"I support continuing to make sure that everyone complies with the law as it is right now," he said. "I'm unfamiliar with the legislation, it hasn't been presented to me, nobody has talked to me about it. And of course I'm open to having any conversations with any members."


McCarthy's plan may in fact be in its infancy. House Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana told reporters at his Tuesday press conference that he hadn't seen the news about McCarthy's position on stock trading.

Jeffries is widely seen as a potential successor to Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker, and his relationship with McCarthy may be pivotal in the coming years. His hesitance to commit to a ban comes after Pelosi fully rejected the idea in December.

"We are a free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that," Pelosi said when asked by Insider last month.

Insider also asked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about a hypothetical stock trading ban on Tuesday, but he dodged the question. "I don't own any stocks," he said.

There are several different proposals that would curtail the practice, and Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia is reportedly looking for a Republican co-sponsor to introduce a blind trust bill in the Senate.


"I wish and hope that Republicans will embrace some of those reforms for the health and the good of the institution and the republic, irrespective of the politics of taking the House back," Republican Rep. Chip Roy, a co-sponsor of the TRUST in Congress Act, told Insider in an interview. "We're heading into election season, where people have to start promising what they're going to do in 2023. Now's the time to sort of do that."

Insider recently published a five-month-long investigation, "Conflicted Congress," which found that 52 members of Congress and 182 senior congressional staffers had violated the STOCK Act, a law to prevent Insider trading.