Wall Street Owns Congress
by Marianne Williamson



we read

We can no longer ignore it:
as long as corporate money dominates our politics,
the well-being of hundreds of millions of people—
and our democracy itself—
will be at risk.

In the words of Bernie Sanders,

“Congress doesn’t regulate Wall Street.
Wall Street regulates Congress.”

Corporations now have more influence on Congress
than the will of We The People!
This problem will not end until We The People end it.

Americans are not only waking up to this corrupt travesty, but are increasingly ready to do something about it.

There are two main ways that corporate America owns Congress. 

Congresspeople shouldn’t be able to go home at night and say to their spouses, “Hey, honey, guess what [unethical] insider trading tips I learned today! Let’s call the broker first thing tomorrow so he can invest us in stocks that are about to go WAY UP in value!” 

Working for Congress
should not provide a great [and easy] way to get rich.

The good news is this:
We’re moving beyond the 


phase now, and getting to the 

“Dammit, we’ve got to fix this” 


It’s starting to happen, and we all need to do is help push it along.

Passions around this issue were sparked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who, when asked whether Congresspeople’s spouses should be able to trade stocks [using their spouse’s insider trading secrets], responded with a Wall Street-friendly side-step. “This is a free market economy” she said, “and they should be able to participate in that.” [Wait! What? It’s OK that the couple and their relatives are getting fabulously rich because one of them works in congress?]

“Whoah!” came a chorus of voices from across the political spectrum. A grass roots response to this inherent conflict of interest is growing, meeting the challenge posed by a particular form of corruption now built into our governmental functioning.

Yes, Congresspeople already have to report their stock transactions (the Stock Act of 2012 demands disclosure). 

And what about the spouses of congresspeople?
They must report their investments too!

Disclosure is not enough. Congresspeople shouldn’t own stocks, or trade them, to begin with.

“But wait!,” you might say. “A lot of [crooked, thieving] people wouldn’t run for Congress anymore!” 

[Yes.] That’s pretty much the point. 

Congress people who are elected by We The People have a job to do. They should work for We The People. Congress people SHOULD NOT be seeking a congress job so they can get rich quick.

The problem is equally present among Democrats as well as Republicans, so this is an example of the real polarity in American politics. 

[This is] not [about] Right versus Left, but [instead]

If short term corporate profits
[continue to] define our lawmakers,
then any pretense of a government
“of the people, by the people, and
for the people”
WILL “perish from the earth.”

Lincoln thought this wouldn’t happen,
but it IS happening.
It’s happening right now!
It is.
And We The People must stop it.

Several proposals have been filed by lawmakers, including some with bipartisan support, that would keep members of Congress and their spouses and family members from benefiting financially from privileged information gathered in the course of their work. Current legislation proposed by Senator Jon Osoff of Georgia would ban all individual stock transactions by members of Congress, their spouses, and dependent children, requiring their stock portfolios be put into a qualified blind trust. Twenty-seven House members have signed onto a letter drafted by Rep. Jared Golden of Maine,

calling on House leadership
to bring forward legislation
to ban members of Congress
from owning or trading stocks.

“Perhaps this means some of our colleagues will miss out
on lucrative investment opportunities,” the members declared.
“We don’t care. We came to Congress to serve our country,
not turn a quick buck.” Two Republicans joined 25 Democrats
in signing on to the letter.

Even Pelosi has suddenly changed course, saying “If [congress] members want to [ban insider trading abuses], I'm okay with that.” Public pressure DOES [make a difference], and the Speaker [now realizes that she] struck a nerve when she so blatantly justified a system that unjustly enriches so few.

I know many people feel beaten down these days, looking at all the ways in which corruption is undermining our government, our wellbeing, and our future. It is exhausting, even infuriating, to see all the ways that people and institutions meant to protect us have become so often people and institutions we need protection from. But it’s also important to remind ourselves, as with this issue of stock trading among legislators, that there are excellent people pushing back in ways that matter. They need our help just as we need theirs.

The issue now will be getting such legislation as Senator Osoff’s to the floor and then passing it. We’re all going to have to make a lot of noise if that is what we want to make happen. When it comes to Congresspeople trading stocks, it’s time for all of them to just say no. But they’re going to have to hear us loud and clear when we say that. 

Money talks,
[so] We The People
are going to have to talk louder.