U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) defended his teaming up with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), one of the most far-left members of Congress, for a common cause to ban lawmakers from engaging in the trading of stocks.
The Florida Republican and the New York City socialist would seem to be an odd couple but, as the old saying goes, “politics makes for strange bedfellows” and at face value, there is no stranger relationship than the duo who have united against the type of congressional corruption that made Nancy Pelosi into a very wealthy woman.
“AOC is wrong a lot. She’d probably say the same thing about me,” Gaetz told Fox News on the curious alliance. “But she’s not corrupt. And I will work with anyone and everyone to ensure that Congress is not so compromised.”
Gaetz further elaborated on the partnership during a conversation with conservative commentator and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk on Friday’s edition of “The Charlie Kirk Show,” telling the host that lawmakers who trade stocks are akin to sports referees betting on games.
I'll work with anyone and everyone to make Congress less corrupt, including Rep. @AOC.
Members of Congress should not be allowed to trade individual stocks. It's like letting the referee bet on the game
The conflict is so obvious to the American people. pic.twitter.com/Gjop0Q4mLh
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) May 5, 2023
“I’ll work with anyone and everyone to make Congress less corrupt,” he said. “You can disagree with a lot of AOC’s views. I certainly do. And she probably disagrees a lot with mine. But we are not part of the bought-and-paid-for caucus. She holds her views sincerely, whether you like them or not, and so do I.”
“One of the things that’s really frustrating is when you even try to engage in debate with some of the colleagues, you don’t get a sincere reaction or response to the substance of the argument, because it’s all about what stock trades they have, what lobbyists pay for their votes and what interests they are beholden to,” Gaetz continued.
“The legislation I’ve sponsored with Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez ends Congress insider trading stocks. Members of Congress should not be allowed to trade individual stocks,” he said. “It’s like letting the referee bet on the game and I can’t believe we’ve allowed it to occur so frequently and when you look at the backgrounds of some of the representatives and then see the wizardry that they are able to deploy in their stock trades, it’s really a head-scratcher.”
“The ability to individually trade stock erodes the public’s trust in government,” AOC said in a statement. “When Members have access to classified information, we should not be trading in the stock market on it. It’s really that simple.”
Earlier in the week during an appearance on Fox News, Gaetz told host Jesse Watters that the amount of securities by lawmakers last year was a mind-boggling $788 million.
“About one in every four members of Congress is doing this, and it’s not exactly like I’m elected with a bunch of Gordon Gekkos and Bobby Axelrods,” the congressman said. “Take Lois Frankel, who you just mentioned. She’s been a lawmaker since I was five years old, and I’m supposed to believe that all of a sudden she’s making moves like she’s Warren Buffett? This congressional stock trading has all of the fairness of like a Lia Thomas swimming competition and I think we should put an end to it.”
Also sponsoring the ‘‘Bipartisan Restoring Faith in Government Act’’ are Democrat Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois and Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania. It is likely to face stiff resistance from the majority of lawmakers who have their hands in the cookie jar.
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