On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) reintroduced his 2022 bill on insider trading, which would prohibit lawmakers and their spouses from holding and trading individual stocks, and require political figures to give back profits to the American public under a new name, the "PELOSI Act".
The Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments (PELOSI) Act comes just over a year after Hawley first introduced the bill, in which he accuses politicians of consistently performing better than the stock market each year they hold office.
This time, the senator's revised version of the bill targets California Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Many Republican lawmakers had criticized her after her husband, Paul Pelosi, sold up to $5 million worth of shares in Nvidia, a California company that manufactures semiconductors, just before the House voted on a bill related to the domestic chip manufacturing industry.
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,” Hawley said in a press release.
In addition to preventing members of Congress from exploiting the market and using their power and privilege over American citizens, The PELOSI Act would also prohibit these politicians from holding diversified mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, or U.S. Treasury bonds that are exempt from the Act.
The bill would require new members of Congress to divest or place prohibited holdings in a blind trust, which would remain in place while they serve the American public, six months before taking office.
The bill also requires that the spouses of American politicians in Congress would have to return any investment profits to the American public via the U.S. Treasury.
Violations of the Act could result in the loss of the ability to deduct losses from those investments on income taxes, as well as additional fines.
Business Insider reported earlier this month that at least 78 members of Congress, from both parties, have violated the 2012 STOCK Act (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act), a law designed to prevent insider trading among lawmakers, and force public servants to disclose their personal financial dealings, including stock trades made by themselves, a spouse, or a dependent child.
However, according to the report, lawmakers who allegedly broke the law claimed that it was due to ignorance, clerical errors, and accounting mistakes.
“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,” Hawley said. “While Wall Street and Big Tech work hand-in-hand with elected officials to enrich each other, hardworking Americans pay the price.”
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