On Tuesday, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced the Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments Act or PELOSI Act named after former Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that would bar lawmakers from trading stocks while in office.
In recent years, the desire to ban stock trading amongst congressmen has grown with this recent attempt being the latest.
“Members of Congress and their spouses shouldn’t be using their position to get rich on the stock market,” Hawley wrote on Twitter to introduce the legislation, adding, “today I’m introducing legislation to BAN stock trading & ownership by members of Congress. I call it the PELOSI Act.”
Members of Congress and their spouses shouldn’t be using their position to get rich on the stock market – today l’m introducing legislation to BAN stock trading & ownership by members of Congress. I call it the PELOSI Act pic.twitter.com/aIXNwSnTvW
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) January 24, 2023
“For too long, politicians in Washington have taken advantage of the economic system they write the rules for, turning profits for themselves at the expense of the American people. As members of Congress, both Senators and Representatives are tasked with providing oversight of the same companies they invest in, yet they continually buy and sell stocks, outperforming the market time and again,” said Senator Hawley in a press release. “While Wall Street and Big Tech work hand-in-hand with elected officials to enrich each other, hardworking Americans pay the price. The solution is clear: we must immediately and permanently ban all members of Congress from trading stocks.”
The bill would prohibit members of Congress and their spouses from “holding, acquiring, or selling stocks or equivalent economic interests” and only allow “diversified mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, or U.S. Treasury bonds” to be held, as reported in The Hill.
The legislation would give representatives and their spouses six months to either divest their portfolios or put their money into a blind trust. This will be monitored by the Government Accountability Office which will conduct an annual audit to ensure compliance.
If any member of Congress is found to violate these requirements then they will not be able to deduct their stock losses from their income tax and the Congressional Ethics Committee will levy fines against the representative.
The legislation is welcomed by the American people with a poll finding last year that 70 percent of respondents supported banning the practice for Congress, as reported by Insider.
The recent push to end the practice comes after the husband of Nancy Pelosi sold millions of dollars worth of shares in a chip manufacturing company when the House was set to vote on the CHIPS Act, which served as a multi-billion dollar investment into the industry.
Other bills like Hawley's have also been introduced in the House with the bipartisan Trust In Congress Act being introduced by Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), according to The Hill.
With the American people squarely behind this effort, Congress should finally hold themselves accountable and limit their ability to trade stocks with insider information. Accountability is necessary for trust. The lawmakers are supposed to serve the American people, not profit off of their office.
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