A group of nine Democratic senators, including Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, are spearheading an effort to require all members of Congress and their immediate family to either place their stocks into a blind trust or divest their holdings. The proposed legislation, called the Ban Congressional Stock Trading Act, aims to prevent federal lawmakers from profiting from insider information.
Recent surveys have shown that bipartisan majorities support the prohibition of Congress members trading stocks in individual companies, citing concerns about potential conflicts of interest. The Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy found that most people who favor the prohibition are worried about the impact of insider trading on lawmakers’ representation of the American people.
Senator Bennet, one of the cosponsors of the legislation, emphasized the importance of restoring the public’s faith in government. He stated that members of Congress should focus on representing the American people instead of worrying about personal financial interests.
Another cosponsor, Senator John Hickenlooper of Colorado, was not among the eight cosponsors for the recent version of the bill. Hickenlooper has made several stock transactions this year, with financial disclosures showing sales of stocks worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. His wife, Robin, also made substantial stock sales.
The proposal has gained support from other lawmakers as well. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Josh Hawley of Missouri introduced the Ban Stock Trading for Government Officials Act, which extends the ban on stock trading to senior executive branch officials and includes blind trusts. However, the bill has yet to attract additional cosponsors.
It is worth noting that from 2019 to 2021, one in three members of Congress engaged in stock or financial asset trading, according to Senator Gillibrand’s office. Additionally, one in seven members of the 117th Congress violated legislation requiring the disclosure of stock trades, including Senator Hickenlooper.
The proposed legislation by Senators Ossoff, Gillibrand, and Hawley has been referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. This committee, chaired by Senator Gary Peters of Michigan, will review the bills. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky serves as the ranking member on the committee.
Overall, the aim of this legislation is to address the concerns of the public regarding potential conflicts of interest and to restore trust in the government by prohibiting stock trading by members of Congress.
– The Daily Beast
– Business Insider
– Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy