Ossoff, Hawley introduce bills that would ban lawmakers from trading stocks

Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia introduced a bill this week with fellow Democrat Mark Kelly of Arizona called the Congressional Stock Trading Ban Act, which would require lawmakers, their spouses and dependent children to place their stock portfolios in blind trusts. If passed, the legislation would not allow lawmakers to use inside information to trade stocks and make money.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri on Wednesday introduced a very similar bill called the Banning Insider Trading in Congress Act, which would also ban lawmakers from trading stocks while in office.

There are key differences between the two proposals: Ossoff’s legislation would apply the ban to all dependent children in addition to spouses, while Hawley’s bill would not. Additionally, Ossoff’s legislation would have the Congressional Ethics Committee oversee the matter, while Hawley’s bill would have the Government Accountability Office audited.

And probably the biggest difference: Ossoff’s legislation would fine lawmakers from their salaries if they broke the law, while Hawley’s would require lawmakers at fault to return their profits to the American people through the Treasury Department. .

A similar bipartisan bill has been introduced on the House side, led by Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, that would require lawmakers to place their assets in qualified blind trusts when they enter. active.

The senators’ bills come after a Business Insider investigation found that 52 members of Congress violated the federal STOCK Act, which aims to prevent insider trading by government officials.

The issue of stock-trading lawmakers has gained traction on Capitol Hill in recent weeks and has broad bipartisan support, but is unlikely to get a vote in the House while Nancy Pelosi is the chair of the House. House because of its opposition to the legislation.

Pelosi told a news conference last month that she doesn’t think members or members’ spouses should be banned from trading individual stocks while they serve in Congress.

“No,” the California Democrat replied when asked about a ban. “We have a responsibility to report on the stock. But I don’t know about that five-month review. But if people don’t report, they should.”

Asked why members shouldn’t be barred from trading while serving in Congress, Pelosi dismissed the need for a ban, saying, “It’s a free market and people — we’re a free market economy. They should be able to participate in that.”

The office of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on the proposals.

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