Ethics rules and investing by Members of Congress

The Post examines investments by Members of Congress in a set of articles today.

The intersection of [Rep. Ron] Paul’s investments, policy convictions and congressional duties is acceptable under the ethics rules that govern lawmaker investing, a code of behavior that stands in stark contrast to the stricter regulations that government and private executives typically must follow.

But the mix of his interests — when stock and other private-sector investing on Capitol Hill is near an all-time high — underscores an age-old concern: How to ensure that congressional leaders are acting in the interests of voters and not themselves?

. . .

Under current rules, judges and executive branch employees cannot handle matters that overlap their holdings, but lawmakers can.

Judges cannot rule in cases involving companies in which they own stock, and executive branch officials must sell assets in industries they regulate or put them in blind trusts. By contrast, long-standing ethics rules for Congress generally leave it up lawmakers to decide whether their holdings pose a conflict and whether they should recuse themselves from a vote.


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