Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) sent a letter to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-MI) for a hearing to consider bipartisan proposals to ban insider stock trading by members of Congress and their spouses.
In the letter, Hawley wrote in part:
“It has been more than six months since members of this Committee proposed measures to put an end to inappropriate financial transactions. Despite these efforts, Speaker Pelosi and her husband remain undeterred from cashing in … More than 70% of Americans agree that this is unacceptable and that Congress shouldn’t be trading stocks at all. After all, clean government in Washington begins with Members of Congress putting the American people first—and not lining their own pockets.”
“Prohibit members of Congress and their spouses from holding, acquiring, or selling stocks or equivalent interests during their tenure in elected office. Any holdings in diversified mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, or U.S. Treasury bonds are exempt from the prohibition.”
“Give Members of Congress and their spouses six months, upon assuming office, to divest any prohibited holdings or place those holdings in a blind trust for the remainder of their tenure in office.”
“Ensure Members or their spouses forfeit any investment profits to the American people via the U.S. Treasury if they are found to be in violation if the Act. Members who violate the requirements will also lose the ability to deduct the losses of those investments on their income taxes. The ethics committees of Congress may levy additional fines and will publicize violations.”
“Require that after two years of the Act’s implementation, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will conduct an audit of Members’ compliance with the Act.”
This seems like a bipartisan movement, as Senators Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) also introduced a bill banning stock trading by members of Congress.
Following Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) husband Paul Pelosi dealing in controversial computer chip stock trades ahead of Congress’ vote on the semiconductor industry, Hawley re-introduced his bill.
Ban stock trading by members of Congress & their spouses. Call it the Pelosi Act https://t.co/pMpl4sQC6N
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) July 18, 2022
While introducing the bill in January, Hawley said:
“It’s time to stop turning a blind eye to Washington profiteering … Year after year, politicians somehow manage to outperform the market, buying and selling millions in stocks of companies they’re supposed to be regulating. Wall Street and Big Tech work hand-in-hand with elected officials to enrich each other at the expense of the country.”
Congressman James Comer (R-KY) said:
“Nancy Pelosi is the ultimate insider … Not only is her husband buying stock options on a much higher level than the average member of Congress … The average member of Congress may buy $5,000 or $6,000 of stock. He’s buying $500,000 worth of stock. He’s buying stock options which expire. To be able to trade stock options profitably, you have to know exactly which direction that stock’s going to move, and you can make a huge profit. This is wrong. This is another example of the media turning a blind eye to Nancy Pelosi’s bad behavior and unethical behavior.”
It is long past time for insider trading to be banned for members of Congress and their spouses. Hopefully, Pelosi won’t be able to stand in the way of bipartisan support to get the bill passed.