Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi probably won’t be fond of the legislation that Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri is cooking up.
As Pelosi and other members of Congress are rightfully criticized and questioned about their seemingly flawless ability to execute successful stock trades, Hawley recently revived an effort to enact strict controls over the investments made by members of Congress.
While he didn’t mention Pelosi specifically, it’s clear by the name of his cleverly worded proposal, the “Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments (PELOSI) Act,” that the former Democratic speaker inspired it.
Hawley announced the new bill on Tuesday morning via Twitter and took a not-so-subtle shot at Paul Pelosi, the former speaker’s husband, over his whirlwind of profitable stock and options trades while his wife served as a top congressional leader.
“Members of Congress and their spouses shouldn’t be using their position to get rich on the stock market – today I’m introducing legislation to BAN stock trading & ownership by members of Congress. I call it the PELOSI Act,” Hawley wrote.
Members of Congress and their spouses shouldn’t be using their position to get rich on the stock market – today l’m introducing legislation to BAN stock trading & ownership by members of Congress. I call it the PELOSI Act pic.twitter.com/aIXNwSnTvW
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) January 24, 2023
“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,” a statement from Hawley read.
“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 statement added.
As the topic gained prominence last year, The Washington Free Beacon reported that the Pelosis had done exceptionally well in the stock market — so well, in fact, that since 2008, the Pelosis managed to increase their net worth by an astonishing $140 million, thanks in part to Mr. Pelosi’s incredible penchant for making profitable trades “in companies [Nancy Pelosi] has worked to subsidize.”
The former speaker expressed some support last year for legislation that would have banned stock trading by members of Congress and their families, but conveniently never took meaningful action on the issue.
Hawley’s bill, which could be difficult to pass in the Senate, lays out a set of easy-to-understand rules regarding investments by members of Congress.
Apart from banning members from “holding, acquiring, or selling stocks or equivalent economic interests during their tenure in elected office,” Hawley’s legislation would give members six months to “divest any prohibited holdings or place those holdings in a blind trust for the remainder of their tenure in office.”
Hawley laid out several punitive actions that could be taken against members who break the rules, including fines and losing the ability to deduct any losses on investments in their income tax filings.
Given that members of Congress are often privy to insider information regarding industries that they have the power to regulate, it only seems logical and fair to the rest of the country that they not be allowed to take advantage of that power, especially in the form of massive profits while everyone else is forced to make their best guesses.
The push to ban stock trading does enjoy some bipartisan support. In January 2021, Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia introduced the Ban Congressional Stock Trading Act and gained 15 Democratic co-sponsors.
Hawley probably won’t be able to muster that kind of support because of the extreme divisions in the upper chamber and especially because of the legislation’s name.
However, it’s still critical that attention is drawn to the matter. If members of both chambers want to impress the American public for the first time in a long time, they will come together and make this law happen.
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