House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) does not believe Congress members and their spouses should be prohibited from trading individual stocks, but former director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub strongly disagrees.
It is a "free market economy," she said on Wednesday. "They should be able to participate in that."
WATCH: Pelosi holds her weekly news conferenceyoutu.be
But Shaub, who was nominated by President Barack Obama to be OGE director and who served in the post from January 2013 until he resigned in July 2017, decried Pelosi's position on the issue.
"What a disgusting comment," Shaub told Fox News Digital via email. "This is the opposite of government ethics."
"Nobody kidnapped these members of Congress when they were private citizens, dragged them to Washington and forced them to be in Congress," he noted. "The American people are sick of members of Congress buying and selling stock and creating the appearance of trading on insider information."
"They should absolutely be banned from trading stocks," he said. "Let them buy diversified mutual funds. Let them buy government bonds. But bar them from trading stocks for crying out loud."
According to the Associated Press, Pelosi's latest financial disclosure indicates that her husband owns millions of dollars of Amazon, Apple, Comcast, and Visa stocks, and stock options in Google's parent company.
"The speaker does not own any stocks," Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill said, according to Business Insider. "As you can see from the required disclosures, with which the speaker fully cooperates, these transactions are marked 'SP' for spouse. The speaker has no prior knowledge or subsequent involvement in any transactions."
Progressive Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York believes that lawmakers should be barred from owning and trading individual stocks during their time in office.
"It is absolutely ludicrous that members of Congress can hold and trade individual stock while in office," she tweeted last week. "The access and influence we have should be exercised for the public interest, not our profit. It shouldn’t be legal for us to trade individual stock with the info we have."