Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is issuing a plan to ban senior executive officials, as well as their spouses, from holding or trading stocks.
The plan, titled the Eliminating Executive Branch Insider Trading Act, would be a major crackdown on senior executive branch officials who are currently allowed to hold and trade stocks despite often being involved in decision-making that includes major corporations looking for government contracts and handouts.
“Senior members of the Executive Branch, who have access to privileged information, shouldn’t be using it to get rich,” Hawley said:
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. [Emphasis added]
Hawley’s legislation comes as a Wall Street Journal report detailed how “one-third of the Energy Department’s senior officials … owned stocks related to the agency’s work,” prompting federal ethics officials to warn them about federal conflict of interest laws.
The Journal reported:
The more than 300 agency officials who received such warnings include nearly six dozen who held stocks of major energy companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. [Emphasis added]
More than 130 officials in the Energy Department collectively reported about 2,700 trades of shares, bonds and options in companies that ethics officers labeled as related to their agency’s work, according to the Journal’s analysis, which examined only disclosures by officials who filed annual reports in that period. [Emphasis added]
In a series of articles last fall, the Journal reported that across 50 federal agencies, more than 2,600 government officials reported investments that stood to rise or fall with the decisions made by their agencies. [Emphasis added]
President Joe Biden’s Department of Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm, in 2021, reportedly violated the STOCK Act when she failed to properly report nine stock trades, including her selling shares of Uber, Redfin, and Gilead Sciences Inc., which enjoys lucrative government contracts.
In January, Hawley filed legislation titled the PELOSI Act to ban members of Congress, as well as their family members, from holding or trading stocks after reports revealed that Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) husband, Paul Pelosi, bought up to $5 million in stock in a semiconductor company right as the Senate was passing legislation to massively subsidize the semiconductor industry.
The PELOSI Act, though, has not garnered any co-sponsors and remains in the Senate Finance Committee, which is led by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mike Crapo (R-ID).
Pelosi was also among a group of Republicans and Democrats who beat the market in 2021 with hundreds of millions of dollars in stock trades. Others who faired the best include Reps. Austin Scott (R-GA), Brian Mast (R-FL), French Hill (R-AR), John Curtis (R-UT), and Dan Crenshaw (R-TX).
Banning members of Congress and their family members from trading stocks is hugely popular among likely American voters.
Last year, a Trafalgar Group survey revealed that 76 percent believe Congress has an “unfair advantage” when it comes to the stock market. Only five percent support permitting congressional stock trading.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter here.
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