The president, vice president, and other senior officials in the executive branch of the U.S. government would be barred from holding and trading stocks under a bill introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.
Hawley’s proposed ban also would apply to the spouses of such senior officials.
“Senior members of the executive branch—who have access to privileged information—shouldn’t be using it to get rich,” Hawley said Tuesday in a press release. “The American people have entrusted these civil servants with implementing and enforcing laws. To ensure they abide by these standards, senior executive branch officials and their spouses must be banned from trading stocks.”
Hawley also introduced legislation Jan. 24 that would prohibit members of the House and Senate from using privileged information to trade stocks. The Missouri Republican calls that legislation the PELOSI Act, after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Hawley’s new legislation, called the Eliminating Executive Branch Insider Trading Act, would prohibit the president, vice president, and other high-level civilian and military officials and their spouses from holding, acquiring, selling, or shorting individual stocks while holding office.
The bill also would require specified officials and their spouses to divest prohibited holdings or place the assets in a blind trust within their first six months in office.
Senior officials in the executive branch who don’t comply would lose any profits and be subject to stiff penalties.
Nearly one-third of Energy Department senior officials or their families own stocks related to the agency’s work, The Wall Street Journal recently reported.
Hawley’s earlier PELOSI Act bill followed news last year that Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, traded between $1 million and $5 million worth of semiconductor stocks shortly before Congress allocated $52 million to the industry.
“While prohibitions already exist in federal law to prevent conflicts of interest, these laws are difficult to enforce and frankly, insufficient,” Hawley told the Journal.
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