Josh Hawley Plan Bans Congress from Trading Stocks: ‘Stop Turning Blind Eye to Washington Profiteering’

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Alex Wong/TOM WILLIAMS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) says lawmakers must “stop turning a blind eye to Washington profiteering” and finally ban members of Congress from holding or trading individual stocks.

Last month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated that Congress and their family members should not be banned from trading stocks because “we’re a free market economy.” The remark came after it was revealed that 54 Republicans and Democrats in Congress failed to properly disclose their transactions in accordance with Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act.

Those lawmakers include Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), as well as Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), and Pete Sessions (R-TX), among others.

This week, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said lawmakers are undoubtedly influenced by their stocks when it comes to legislation and the industries they are supposed to be regulating like Wall Street and giant tech conglomerates.

In response, Hawley has filed legislation, the Banning Insider Trading in Congress Act, that would ban members of Congress and their spouses from holding or trading stocks.

“Year after year, politicians somehow manage to outperform the market, buying and selling millions in stocks of companies they’re supposed to be regulating,” Hawley said:

Wall Street and Big Tech work hand-in-hand with elected officials to enrich each other at the expense of the country. Here’s something we can do: ban all members of Congress from trading stocks and force those who do to pay their proceeds back to the American people. It’s time to stop turning a blind eye to Washington profiteering. [Emphasis added]

Among other provisions, Hawley legislation would prohibit lawmakers and their spouses from holding, acquiring, or selling stocks during their time in office. The plan also sets in place a time period of six months that lawmakers and their spouses would have to divest prohibited holdings after taking office.

If any member of Congress or their spouse violated the policy, they would be required to forfeit any investment profits to American taxpayers through the United States Treasury Department.

“Members who violate the requirements will also lose the ability to deduct the losses of those investments on their income taxes,” a description of the policy states. “The ethics committees of Congress may levy additional fines and will publicize violations.”

This week, the watchdog organization Unusual Whales revealed that, on average, members of Congress beat the market in 2021 with its hundreds of millions of dollars in stock trades. Those who faired the best were Reps. Austin Scott (R-GA), Brian Mast (R-FL), French Hill (R-AR), John Curtis (R-UT), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is said to be considering plans to file legislation that would ban members of Congress and their spouses from trading stocks while in office.

Banning members of Congress from trading stocks is hugely popular among Americans. A recent Trafalgar Group survey revealed that 76 percent of Americans believe lawmakers have an “unfair advantage” when it comes to the stock market. Only five percent support permitting the practice.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here

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