OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley has introduced the “Eliminating Executive Branch Insider Trading Act,” which would “ban the trading and holding of individual stocks by senior Executive Branch officials.”
“How you can explain to the American people why you are in favor of members of Congress day-trading based on information that they’ve got – that other people don’t have out of the public? That’s not what we’re sent here to do,” Hawley explained.
“I think it is a conflict of interest. Listen, insider trading is already banned, but members of Congress, I think, get information that a lot of the public just isn’t privy to. It may not technically be insider trading, but I do think it presents conflicts of interest,” he added, Fox Business reported.
Hawley’s bill is a separate piece of legislation from his “Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments Act,” popularly known as the PELOSI Act, named after the former House speaker.
This bill, which already has support from many Democrats, would prohibit members of Congress and their spouses from holding or trading individual stocks.
“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. While Wall Street and Big Tech work hand-in-hand with elected officials to enrich each other, hard-working Americans pay the price,” Hawley said.
“The PELOSI Act will impose the prohibition on lawmakers during their tenure in office but will exempt holdings in diversified mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, or U.S. Treasury bonds. It will 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,” Benzinga reported.
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
Separately, Virginia Democrat Rep. Abigail Spanberger joined Texas GOP Rep. Chip Roy to push legislation to ban members of Congress from trading stocks while in office.
California Democrat Rep. Nancy Pelosi, in particular, has come under fire numerous times for her controversial and well-timed stock trades.
A report from Business Insider in January noted that an “analysis estimated the Pelosis’ cumulative wealth is at least $46.1 million.”
Pelosi turned heads recently with a conveniently timed stock sale. A sale that Pelosi disclosed in late December shows Pelosi sold around 30,000 shares of Google stock roughly three weeks before the Justice Department and eight states announced an anti-trust lawsuit against Alphabet, which is Google’s parent company.
Nancy Pelosi had originally directed the House Administration Committee to draft legislation back in February, but the release of that draft this fall came at a bit of an awkward time. Just weeks before, she’d faced harsh criticism when her husband, Paul, a venture capitalist, exercised his call options and purchased shares in Nvidia, a manufacturer of graphics cards.
It was right before the Senate was expected to vote on a bipartisan bill that would see domestic chipmakers get a $52 billion subsidy, and the move received significant blowback. That bill ultimately passed in July and, amid the scrutiny, Paul Pelosi sold his holdings in the semiconductor manufacturer at a six-figure loss.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy previously said there will be an investigation into the Pelosis stock trading.
“I would look through it,” he said of the Democrat proposal to ban stock trading for spouses of Congress members. “What I’ve told everybody is we will come back, and we will not only investigate this, we will come back with a proposal to change the current behavior.”
“Her husband can trade all the way through, but now it becomes a crisis?” he said. “I think what her husband did was wrong.”
“I think we need to bring trust back to this institution,” he added. “I think we have to do a thorough investigation and look at what is the proper role for members of Congress and what influence they have, and I don’t think the proper way to do this is Nancy Pelosi writing the bill because we have proven that she can not do that.”