After months of moral panic, House Democrats this week released a bill to ban federal officials from owning individual stocks, but its sheer breadth is a reason for second thoughts. The evidence is thin that this addresses any real problem, while it will deter successful people from seeking or accepting public office.

The bill would forbid federal officials from holding individual investments unless they’re in a qualified blind trust. There are some exemptions, such as for “a diversified mutual fund” or “a diversified exchange-traded fund,” as well as for “an interest in a small business concern or family-owned business that does not present a conflict of interest.” But no trading shares in companies famous or obscure.



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