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Hawley and Hartzler: Ban Stock Trading in Congress

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) and Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) published a piece this morning in the Springfield News-Leader calling for a ban on stock trading in Congress. Their legislation, the Banning Insider Trading in Congress Act, would prohibit Members of Congress and their spouses from holding or trading individual stocks. The bill will require Members found in violation to return their profits to the American people.

Read the piece below:

Last year, lawmakers in Washington bought over $267 million and sold $364 million in assets. One of the worst offenders is the Democratic House Speaker. In 2020, Speaker Pelosi and her husband managed to outperform the S&P 500 by a whopping 14.3 percent. That’s unusual. Making matters worse, almost 65 percent of her family’s investments are in Big Tech companies. One of Pelosi’s biggest gains came when her husband exercised options to purchase shares of Google, just one week before the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on antitrust legislation that would impact Big Tech. Regardless of her decision-making process, what you can’t deny is the clear appearance of a conflict of interest.

[…]

Year after year, politicians like Speaker Pelosi somehow manage to outperform the market, buying and selling millions in stocks of companies they’re supposed to be regulating. In 2021 alone, 105 members of Congress made stock transactions worth nearly $290 million. Of those, 35 members of Congress outperformed the S&P 500 in their trades. It is time to end this corrupt practice for politicians. The laws on the books we have today just don’t do the trick. All they require is infrequent disclosures, and penalties for noncompliance can be just $200. Dozens of our colleagues just ignore the rules entirely.

Yet, Nancy Pelosi has made it clear that she thinks Congress is doing nothing wrong. She has said that it’s a free market and that members of Congress should enjoy it. But the American people disagree — a recent poll found that 67 percent of Americans support a ban on stock trading by members of Congress, and they are right. It is clear that politicians with access to classified briefings and privileged information have an unfair advantage when playing the stock market.

[…]

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “There can be no offense heavier than that of him in whom such a sacred trust has been reposed, who sells it for his own gain and enrichment.” We should heed this same call for a higher standard for our elected officials. It is time to restore the American people’s trust in their representatives and end stock trading in Congress.

The full piece can be found here.

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