A bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday struck a deal on new legislation that bans members of Congress from trading stock.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) joined Democratic Sens. Gary Peters of Michigan, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Jon Ossoff of Georgia in pushing the new bill — following a string of failed efforts to prevent lawmakers from gaining an alleged advantage over the general public.

“Congress should not be here to make a buck,” Hawley (R-Mo.) said at a Capitol Hill press conference. “There is no reason why members of Congress ought to be profiting off of the information that only they get.”

The bill would prohibit members of Congress, their spouses and their dependent children, as well as the president and vice president, from buying and selling stocks during their time in office.

It will be introduced later this month in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

If passed, the bipartisan bill would immediately ban members of Congress from trading stocks and give them 90 days to sell their existing stocks.

Starting March 2027, the bill would prohibit representatives’ spouses and dependent children from trading stocks and require the president, vice president and members of Congress to divest from any covered investments.

The penalty for not divesting investments would be either the representative’s monthly salary or 10% of the value of each asset in violation, whichever is higher.

The proposal piggybacks off of the STOCK Act – existing legislation that prohibits insider trading among members of Congress – and proposes an amendment to increase penalties for STOCK Act violations.

The bill is part of a longtime battle to ban members of Congress from stock trading amid claims that representatives have an unfair advantage when stock trading because of their access to confidential information.

“Why should members of Congress be spending their time day trading rather than focusing on the priorities the American people sent us here to achieve and focus on?” Hawley said.

Ossoff has pushed for similar stock trading bans since he first joined the Senate in 2021. 

Calls to ban stock trading among members of Congress grew during the pandemic, when several senators sold stocks in a profitable move in the early days of the crisis just before the market crashed. 

The Department of Justice launched a probe into the trades, though no charges were made and the matter was closed.

Then, former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dropped her opposition to the stock trading ban before the 2022 midterm elections. 

Pelosi – whose husband Paul Pelosi is a millionaire investor – initially opposed the ban.

Hawley introduced a similar stock trading ban in early 2023 called the Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments Act – or PELOSI Act.

Share.
2024 © Network Today. All Rights Reserved.