House of Representatives Ken Buck (R-Colorado), Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington), and Matt Rosendale (R-Montana) have joined together to introduce the "Bipartisan Ban on Congressional Stock Ownership Act."
The legislation will prohibit members of Congress and their spouses from owning and trading stocks and goes well beyond other proposals to ban stock trading in numerous ways.
The proposed legislation includes the following:
- Bans members of Congress and their spouses from owning and trading individual stocks, bonds, commodities, futures, and other securities including an interest in a hedge fund, a derivative, an option or other complex investment vehicle. Widely held funds, such as mutual funds and ETFs, will not be banned as long as those funds do not present a conflict of interest and are diversified.
- A civil penalty of up to $50,000 will be established for each violation to be enforced by the Department of Justice and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.
- A transition period will be allowed for lawmakers to divest their holdings and come into compliance, including a similar period for newly elected members starting when they’re sworn in, and allows deferral of taxation on gains from investments that they and their spouses are forced to divest.
It’s past time for Washington to do the right thing and ban Members of Congress from using their elected position to enrich themselves. Members of Congress receive information that the public does not, it is inappropriate for elected officials to then turn around and invest or buy stocks using that insider information.
The American people must have trust that Congress uses this information only to conduct official business, not benefit a stock portfolio. I’m proud to work in a bipartisan manner with Congresswoman Jayapal and Congressman Rosendale on this important issue to restore some faith and trust in Congress.Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colorado)
Only two in ten Americans trust that our government is working in their best interest. Members of Congress are elected to serve the people, not our own financial interests. As long as members and their spouses are allowed to trade individual stocks – the door to corruption remains open. This legislation is a long overdue, necessary step to raise the ethical standards of Congress and restore the people’s trust in our work.Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington)
We’ve made strides to ensure that Congress returned to an honest and properly functioning legislative body – ending insider trading by Members is another crucial step that will restore public confidence in our institutions. It’s unacceptable that so many career politicians abuse their office to enrich themselves rather than putting the interests of the American people first.Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Montana)
A number of lawmakers introduced legislation in the last Congress to ban members from trading stocks, but none of the proposals passed.
The effort gained initiative after news surfaced that several lawmakers had allegedly violated existing laws meant to prevent conflicts of interest when it comes to investing.
The House came close to holding a vote on similar legislation last September, but Democrats ultimately scrapped the plans, saying there was not enough time to evaluate the proposal.