Josh Hawley introduces the PELOSI Act to ban lawmakers from trading stocks and making a profit while in office

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A Republican in the US Senate is trying to prevent lawmakers and their spouses from trading stocks that the officials would have privileged information on and use the bill’s title to do a not-so-subtle dig at former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

On Tuesday, Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., officially introduced the PELOSI Act to Prevent Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments, which requires members and their spouses to divest all holdings or bring them in into a blind trust for six months. enter the office.

“Members of Congress and their spouses shouldn’t use their positions to get rich in the stock market – today I am introducing legislation to ban the trading of stocks and property by members of Congress. I call it the PELOSI Act,” he wrote on Twitter Tuesday.

The bill comes after revelations last year that Nancy’s husband, Paul Pelosi, traded between $1 million and $5 million in semiconductor stocks just days before Congress allocated $52 million to the industry. The shares were later sold at a loss to remove the appearance of impropriety.

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Other legislators and their spouses have made similar advantageous deals, including Senator Richard Burr, RN.C., who sold investments after receiving classified briefings about the coronavirus pandemic.

Hawley’s bill excludes mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and purchases of government bonds.

Hawley’s bill would require all of a legislature’s profits to be returned to U.S. taxpayers.

It also specifically amends the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, which prohibits the use of non-public information for private profit, commonly known as insider trading – which is already illegal for business leaders and ordinary Americans.

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The bill currently requires the President of the United States, the Vice President, specific executive branch employees, the Postmaster General, some civilian employees, certain members of Congress, and bailiffs to file a report identifying the source, type, and the value of income obtained from a source other than their current job.

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., on Capitol Hill, September 13, 2022, in Washington, DC.

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., on Capitol Hill, September 13, 2022, in Washington, DC.
(Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

This bill was previously amended in 2012, when Representative Louise McIntosh Slaughter, DN.Y., and Senator Joe Lieberman, ID-CT, introduced the “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act” or the “STOCK Act” to ban insider trading.

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The legislation, signed into law, prohibits legislators and employees from using information obtained through legislative meetings to benefit privately. The law also says lawmakers are not exempt from the prohibition of insider trading under the securities laws.

It requires congressional lawmakers to report all stock transactions by themselves or their family members of $1,000 or more within 45 days.

The push to prevent legislators from profiting privately from their public office has bipartisan support, and Hawley and others on both sides of the proverbial aisle have taken legislative action to prohibit such action.

Earlier this year, Hawley introduced a bill that would ban lawmakers from trading stocks while in office. Sens. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., and Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., have introduced similar legislation.

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Earlier this month, Representatives Chip Roy, R-TX, and Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., again introduced a bill that would ban lawmakers and their family members from trading individual stocks or using their public office for “political gain.”

The TRUST Act, formally the Transparent Representation Upholding Service and Trust in Congress Act, would require legislators and family members to transfer specific investments to a qualified blind trust while serving in Washington.

“Strengthening our democracy and building real resilience to corruption is not just about preventing unethical decisions, but it is also about addressing the feeling among many Americans that their elected officials and government are not working for them. This perception is harmful to our democracy, and the TRUST in Congress Act would help build trust and reassure the public that members of Congress are not serving their own financial interests,” Spanberger said at the time.

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She also said the bill would create a “firewall between congressmen and their investments.”

Original co-sponsors of the bill include Reps Scott Perry, R-Penn., Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Jerry Nadler, DN.Y., Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Dusty Johnson, R-SD, Nikema Williams , D-Ga., Dean Phillips, D-Minn., Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, Angie Craig, D-Minn., Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Penn., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., Pete Sessions, R -Texas, Grace Meng, DN.Y. and Joe Courtney, D-CT and more.

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