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Every day Americans have watched elected officials get rich off a government salary for far too many years.
These “civil servants” make the rules and then enjoy the profits. It’s unethical at best, and criminal at worst.
Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, is hoping to prohibit lawmakers and their spouses from owning and trading stocks while holding a Congressional seat.
He is proposing the PELOSI Act: “Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments” (PELOSI).
The name is a clever way to point out the biggest winner in the stock trading game, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi and her husband were recently slammed for selling 30,000 shares of Google stock shortly before the Justice Department and eight states sued Google for alleged antitrust violations.
Hawley referred people to the Google stock story when they inquired about his naming the bill the PELOSI Act.
Hawley said, “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.
“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, hardworking Americans pay the price. The solution is clear: we must immediately and permanently ban all members of Congress from trading stocks.”
The bill is set up to do the following:
“Prohibit members of Congress and their spouses from holding, acquiring, or selling stocks or equivalent economic interests during their tenure in elected office. Any holdings in diversified mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, or U.S. Treasury bonds are exempt from the prohibition.
“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.
“Ensure members or their spouses forfeit any investment profits to the American people via the U.S. Treasury if they are found to be in violation of the Act. Members who violate the requirements will also lose the ability to deduct the losses of those investments on their income taxes. The ethics committees of Congress may levy additional fines and will publicize violations.
“Require that after two years of the Act’s implementation, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will conduct an audit of members’ compliance with the Act.
This may be one issue on which both Republicans and Democrats can agree.
According to CNN, there is a bipartisan push to make the ban on stock trading by elected officials a reality so this bill or one similar has a decent chance of getting passed.
CNN reports that “Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas reintroduced the TRUST in Congress Act on Thursday.
It would require members of Congress, their spouses, and their dependent children to put certain investment assets into a qualified blind trust while the member is in office.”
Spanberger said passage of the act would show the American people that Congress is more focused on the issues affecting their constituents and “not their own stock portfolios.”
It’s a start to regaining trust in our institutions. Next up: term limits!