Broad coalition urges House of Representatives to update ethics rules to prohibit lawmakers from serving on boards of publicly traded companies

Issue One was joined today by 12 other organizations from across the ideological spectrum in urging all members of the House of Representatives to support a bipartisan resolution introduced last month by Reps. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) and Tom Reed (R-NY) that would prohibit House members from serving on the boards of publicly traded companies.

This common-sense resolution would change House ethics rules to include a provision similar to one already used in the U.S. Senate. H. Res. 1043 would prohibit members of the House of Representatives, as well as House employees, from serving “as an officer or member of the board of any publicly held or publicly regulated corporation, financial institution, or business entity.”

H. Res. 1043 was introduced by Reps. Rice and Reed in the wake of the indictment of Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) for insider trading. As alleged in the indictment, Rep. Collins was in a position to receive nonpublic information about the Australian pharmaceutical company Innate Immunotherapeutics because he sat on its board of directors.

Here’s an excerpt of this new letter:

“Members of Congress are public servants whose primary responsibility is to work on behalf of their constituents and the public. The responsibility of a corporate board member is to increase profit for the corporation. The same person cannot hold these two roles without creating conflicts of interest.

“The recent indictment of Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) for insider trading shows that this is not merely a hypothetical issue, but a real-world problem. As alleged in the indictment, Rep. Collins was in a position to receive nonpublic information about the Australian pharmaceutical company Innate Immunotherapeutics because he sat on its board of directors. The House of Representatives needs to swiftly adopt H. Res. 1043 to remove the possibility of this type of troubling situation, and other conflicts of interest, from arising …

“Each of our organizations applauds Reps. Rice and Reed for their leadership in working to introduce this new, straightforward resolution, and we urge you, and all members of the House of Representatives, to support this critical and long-overdue change that will help restore the American people’s trust in Congress.”

The 13 organizations that signed this new letter urging all members of the House of Representatives to support H. Res. 1043 are as follows:

Business for America

Campaign Legal Center

Common Cause

Government Accountability Institute

Issue One

League of Women Voters of the United States

MapLight

Project On Government Oversight

R Street Institute

Stand Up Republic

Sunlight Foundation

Take Back Our Republic

Taxpayers for Common Sense