A group of bipartisan representatives introduced a bill to ban members of Congress and their spouses from owning or trading stocks.
The bill from Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Matt Rosendale (R-MT), and Ken Buck (R-CO) would ban members from owning individual stocks, commodities, futures, and other securities, derivatives, options, or another “complex investment vehicle,” the Hill reported.
However, members would still be able to hold “common, widely held funds, such as mutual funds and ETFs, as long as those funds do not present a conflict of interest and are diversified,” the trio wrote.
“Only two in ten Americans trust that our government is working in their best interest,” Jayapal is quoted as saying on her website.
“Members of Congress are elected to serve the people, not our own financial interests. As long as members and their spouses are allowed to trade individual stocks – the door to corruption remains open. This legislation is a long overdue, necessary step to raise the ethical standards of Congress and restore the people’s trust in our work,” the representative’s quote continues.
“We’ve made strides to ensure that Congress returned to an honest and properly functioning legislative body – ending insider trading by Members is another crucial step that will restore public confidence in our institutions,” Rosendale said.
“It’s unacceptable that so many career politicians abuse their office to enrich themselves rather than putting the interests of the American people first. I’m proud to introduce the Bipartisan Ban on Congressional Stock Ownership Act with Congresswoman Jayapal and Congressman Buck,” he continued.
The new version of the bill goes further than previous bills, according to the lawmakers, pushing for more severe punishments for violators. It includes a $50,000 fine for each individual violation and clarifies what kinds of investments are allowed and banned.
The bill was previously introduced in February of last year, albeit with different sponsors.
The newest push comes after an unsuccessful initiative late last year, which was shot down by Democrat leadership at the last moment. It follows two similar bills proposed earlier this year. Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Chip Roy (R-TX) reintroduced the Trust in Congress Act in January, which would require members of Congress, their spouses, and dependent children to put all stock investments into a blind trust until they leave office. That bill never went beyond the introduction stage.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced the Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments Act, or PELOSI Act, in February, but it also never went beyond its introduction.
Hawley also introduced a similar bill earlier this month that would apply to the executive branch.