Sen. Josh Hawley is proposing legislation to further prevent members of Congress from insider trading.
The legislation — entitled the “Banning Insider Trading in Congress Act” — would stop lawmakers and their spouses from holding, buying, or selling individual stocks. However, the bill would not ban investments in mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, or Treasury bonds.
“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 in a statement. “Wall Street and Big Tech work hand-in-hand with elected officials to enrich each other at the expense of the country.”
Hawley’s announcement occurs as Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) partners with Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) to offer similar legislation. As Axios reported, “this means there will be now be two similar bills to ban stock trades individually championed by two vastly different lawmakers — further complicating the effort to pass a stock trading ban this session.”
Talks between Ossoff and Hawley’s offices “fizzled out,” according to the outlet. While Ossoff’s bill would ban dependent children from investing, Hawley’s bill would not; Hawley’s bill would charge the Government Accountability Office with providing oversight, which Ossoff’s bill leaves to congressional ethics committees.
A report from The New York Times’ DealBook — based upon research conducted by Capitol Trades — showed that members of Congress and their immediate families exchanged more than $630 million in stocks last year. The report came days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) deflected questions as to why lawmakers should be allowed to trade individual stocks.
“Madam Speaker, Insider just completed a five‑month investigation finding that 49 Members of Congress and 182 senior Congressional staffers have violated the STOCK Act, the insider trading law,” said a reporter. “I’m wondering if you have any reaction to that.”
“No, I don’t — no, to the second one. Any — we have a responsibility to report in the stock — on the stock,” Pelosi responded. “But I don’t — I’m not familiar with that five month review, but if the people aren’t reporting, they should be.”
“Why shouldn’t they be banned?” the reporter pressed.
“Because this is a free market and people — we are a free market economy,” Pelosi responded. “They should be able to participate in that.”
Podcast host Joe Rogan later blasted Pelosi for the remarks.
“They make their money when they get out,” Rogan said of politicians after they leave office. “What it is is [it’s] like an investment, if you get out you will have money for speaking engagements with all the companies that you helped, all the companies that you like, ‘Hey, I like you. I like you. Let’s hang out, let’s party.’ They’re like, ‘Hey, Mike. Mike the former president, we’d love to have you come speak at our conference, and we’re willing to pay you a half a million dollars.’ So this [it’s] like weird bribes.”
“She’s giving this like very simplistic, almost vague answer,” Rogan said after watching Pelosi’s comments. “Because should you be allowed to participate in the stock market when you’re influencing the direction of the stock or when you know which direction something’s going to go in? Or when you’re going to pass a law that’s going to benefit these businesses, that’s going to force the stock to go up, and you know that, so you invest a sh*t ton of money before it happens? That seems like a problem. That seems like it’s a problem. Now why is that not a problem? Because we’re f***ing co-opted.”