Hawley Seeks Expanded Stock Trading Ban For Officials

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is seeking the expansion of a ban on executive and legislative branch officials trading stocks while in office. The Missouri Republican announced his bipartisan proposal alongside Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

Hawley and Gillibrand introduced the Ban Stock Trading for Government Officials Act The proposed legislation would tighten rules around both the trading of stocks and the need to disclose such financial transactions for members of Congress, higher-level members of the executive branch as well as immediate family. 

According to Hawley’s office the bill “bans stock trading, stock ownership and blind trusts” and “imposes heavy penalties for executive branch stock trading.”

“Politicians and civil servants shouldn’t spend their time day-trading and trying to make a profit at the expense of the American public, but that’s exactly what so many are doing,” he said.  “My bill with Senator Gillibrand is common sense: ban elected and executive branch officials from trading or holding stocks and put the American public first.”

Gillibrand said that it was “critical that the American people know that their elected leaders are putting the public first—not looking for ways to line their own pockets.”

She added that the new bill would impose “harsh penalties on violators.”

The New York Democrat described the bill as the “most substantive bipartisan effort to date.”

The bill specifically would bar all members of Congress, the president and vice president as well as senior members of White House staff or their immediate families from holding or trading stocks. 

One distinction in this iteration of the bill as compared to previous efforts is that there would be no exception for blind trusts. 

Congressional violators of the act, if passed, would be forced to pay at least 10% of the value of the investment as a penalty.

Furthermore, members of the executive branch who violate the measure would be obligated to hand over all profits to the United States Treasury and face an automatic special counsel fine of “not less than the value of the covered investment that was purchased or sold in violation of the ban or up to $10,000, whichever is more.”

Earlier this year, Hawley backed a similar bill to limit congressional stock trading.