Hawley and Hartzler Op-Ed: Ban Stock Trading in Congress

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Today U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler (MO-4) published an op-ed with the Springfield News-Leader about the need to ban stock trading in Congress.

Last year, lawmakers in Washington bought over $267 million and sold $364 million in assets. One of the worst offenders is the Democratic House Speaker. In 2020, Speaker Pelosi and her husband managed to outperform the S&P 500 by a whopping 14.3 percent. That’s unusual. Making matters worse, almost 65 percent of her family’s investments are in Big Tech companies. One of Pelosi’s biggest gains came when her husband exercised options to purchase shares of Google, just one week before the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on antitrust legislation that would impact Big Tech. Regardless of her decision-making process, what you can’t deny is the clear appearance of a conflict of interest.

Americans don’t trust Congress. Last year, the number who did was just five percent. It’s not hard to see why. With corporate lobbying, billions of dollars in dark money, and rampant stock trading by members, voters simply do not believe that their representatives are working for them. That needs to change.

Clean government in Washington begins with members of Congress putting their financial interests on the back-burner. Working for the people is not about getting rich. It’s about putting the American people first in every decision, all the time. If there is even a whiff of a conflict of interest, then we must end it.

One of the most basic things that we should be able to expect is that people who serve in Congress will be focused on actually doing what the people want and not on lining their own pockets. That is why we have introduced the Banning Insider Trading in Congress Act. This legislation will prohibit members of Congress and their spouses from holding, acquiring or selling stocks during their tenure in elected office. Instead, members can put their savings into broad-based mutual funds, like those used by most Americans, or place their assets in blind trusts during their tenure in office. Members of Congress who violate this law will be required to forfeit all of their stock profits to the U.S. Treasury, returning all their gains to the people they are supposed to represent.

… It is time to restore the American people’s trust in their representatives and end stock trading in Congress.

Last month, Senator Hawley introduced the Banning Insider Trading in Congress Act to prohibit Members of Congress and their spouses from holding or trading individual stocks. Representative Hartzler introduced the House companion.

Since then, mounting pressure to ban Congressional stock trading has forced even Nancy Pelosi to change her position and admit she is open to a stock trading ban for members. 

Read Senator Hawley’s and Representative Hartzler’s full op-ed here.