Hawley Introduces PELOSI Act to Ban Stock Trades for Lawmakers and Their Spouses
Senator Josh Hawley has introduced legislation that would ban lawmakers in Congress from making stock purchases or trades – dubbed the Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments – or PELOSI – Act.
The Act gives new members and their spouses six months after first assuming office to divest any holdings or put them in a blind trust.
Should any members or their spouses be found in violation of the Act, they would be directed to “forfeit any investment profits to the American people via the U.S. Treasury.”
“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 statement.
The Missouri lawmaker noted that members of Congress have an uncanny ability, with the knowledge they have of certain market sectors, to outperform 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,” he added. “The solution is clear: we must immediately and permanently ban all members of Congress from trading stocks.”
Don’t get me wrong, you have to love the dig at Nancy Pelosi, whose husband Paul has recently come under fire for some controversial stock trades.
But one has to wonder if the jab at the couple with the playful acronym would dissuade people from supporting legislation for a ban on stock trades in Congress that has bipartisan support.
And there definitely is bipartisan support to stop lawmakers from enriching themselves while serving in Congress.
“We are long overdue for a vote on legislation to ban Members of Congress and their spouses from trading individual stocks,” said Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia in a recent statement.
A Morning Consult poll in October shows 68% of voters agree with a ban on stock trading for members of Congress.
Pelosi and Her Husband
Paul Pelosi was hammered with criticism after controversial stock purchases that he made in June came to light.
A financial disclosure shows Mr. Pelosi made a million-dollar stock purchase in semiconductor company NVIDIA, buying 20,000 shares ahead of a congressional vote to provide a $52 billion subsidy increasing U.S. manufacturing of computer chips.
The stock purchase led fellow Democrat Tulsi Gabbard (HI) to declare it as evidence of “blatant corruption” and that the “system is rigged.”
Representative Nancy Pelosi has defended the practice of lawmakers trading and purchasing stocks.
“We’re a free-market economy,” Pelosi told reporters during a press briefing in December of 2021. “They should be able to participate in that.”
This was following a report by Business Insider that dozens of lawmakers have violated conflict-of-interest laws while numerous others have personally invested in industries under their purview.
That in-depth analysis focused on violations of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, as well as whether or not members of Congress or their spouses buy and sell individual stocks in companies.
Pelosi is herself listed in the report as ‘borderline’ meaning her personal finances “deserve greater scrutiny.”