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PELOSI Act Would Ban Congressional Stock Trading

Holland McKinnie
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Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced a bill on Tuesday designed to block members of Congress and their immediate families from trading individual stocks while in office. Regardless of the legislation’s prospects at enactment, it has perhaps the most clever name ever seen on a Senate bill. It is titled the Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments (PELOSI) Act.

The legislation would require lawmakers and family members to transfer individually owned stocks into qualified blind trusts while in office. Penalties for violations include forfeiture of stock holdings or profits to the U.S. treasury.

Hawley said Washington politicians have for too long “taken advantage of the economic system they write the rules for, turning profits for themselves at the expense of the American people.”

“While Wall Street and Big Tech work hand-in-hand with elected officials to enrich each other, hardworking Americans pay the price,” the Missouri Republican added.

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) is one of the wealthiest members of Congress. As a historically successful stock trader, she has consistently opposed any prohibitions on the ability of her and her husband, Paul Pelosi, to make lucrative stock trades.

When House Democrats derailed a similar bill in the last Congress, the now-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said the GOP would restart the legislation as a high priority in the 118th Congress.

The last law that attempted to regulate insider trading by lawmakers was the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012. A recent analysis by Business Insider indicated that at least 78 House and Senate members had violated the STOCK Act’s provisions. While that law does not ban trading, it requires public disclosure of qualified trades by lawmakers and family members.

A report published by Unusual Whales indicated that 27 Washington lawmakers owned stock portfolios that outperformed the market last year. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 was off 18% overall in 2022.

In other Washington news on Tuesday, Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) announced filing a major new lawsuit against Google. The DOJ’s case alleges the tech giant is exploiting an illegal monopoly to manipulate the market for online advertising. 

In what looks like a fantastic coincidence, Nancy Pelosi made a massive stock trade involving her stake in the company just four weeks ago. She fortuitously sold off $3 million worth of her stock in the company in advance of the bad litigation news.

Journalist Collin Rugg tweeted: “Pelosi gets a free pass for white-collar crime. Anyone else would be in jail.”