Democratic Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff and Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley on Wednesday introduced dueling proposals to ban stock trades by lawmakers, The Hill reports.
Ossoff along with Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly introduced the Ban Congressional Stock Trading Act, which would require all members of Congress, their spouses, and dependent children to divest from certain investments or move them into a blind trust within 120 days.
Lawmakers would have to divest from any securities, commodities, futures, or similar assets but can continue to hold mutual funds and US Treasury bills, notes, and bonds.
Members who violate the law would be fined one year salary.
“Members of Congress should not be playing the stock market while we make federal policy and have extraordinary access to confidential information,” Ossoff said in a statement.
Kelly said in a statement that the bill “will put an end to corrupt insider trading and ensure that leaders in Congress focus on delivering results for their constituents, not their stock portfolios.”
Hawley has his own bill:
Hawley on Wednesday introduced the Banning Insider Trading in Congress Act, which would similarly ban investments in stocks or similar interests but allow lawmakers to invest in mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and US Treasury bonds.
The bill would give lawmakers six months to divest or move assets into a blind trust.
Members who violate the law would be required to forfeit their profits from investments to the Treasury.
Members who violate the law would also face potential fines from ethics committees and the Government Accountability Office would conduct compliance audits every two years.
“It’s time to stop turning a blind eye to Washington profiteering,” Hawley said in a statement.
A growing number of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have come around to a stock trading ban even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opposes it.
Members of Congress and their immediate families bought and sold $515 million in stocks and assets over the past year, according to Capitol Trades.
Virginia Democrat Abigail Spanberger and Texas Republican Chip Roy in 2020 introduced a House bill to ban congressional stock trading but their bill only got 14 other sponsors.
“It’s about accountability, but it’s also about ensuring that the perception, and the ability of our constituents to trust us is much easier because they don’t have to wonder about our motivations,” Spanberger told CNBC. “We’ve removed that room for doubt.”