(PresidentialHill.com)- A new proposal put forth this week would ban all federal lawmakers from participating in public stock trades while they hold office.
On Wednesday, Republican Senator Ben Sasse from Nebraska introduced the legislation, saying that his proposal is meant to “rebuild some public trust.
In a statement announcing his new bill, which he’s calling the Ethics Reform Act, Sasse said:
“People hate politics, and politicians have worked hard to earn that hate. This ethics package is pretty simple: If Congress wants to rebuild some public trust, we ought to put some pretty simple rules on Washington. Members of Congress shouldn’t be trading stocks while they’re in office, and they shouldn’t cash out as lobbyists when they leave office.”
This is not a new issue that Sasse is taking up. Back in 2018, he introduced a similar version to this proposal. Back then, he said Congress members should do “what’s best for their constituents, not their 401(k).”
Sasse’s bill would also force the vice president and president to disclose their tax returns to the public. Family members also wouldn’t be allowed to “glad-hand for foreign cash under the cover of foundations and libraries.”
“This is going to hack off a whole bunch of Republicans and Democrats, but, frankly, doing it in one fell swoop is the only way to do it. It’s time to get everyone’s goat.”
According to the bill, any federal lawmaker who is discovered to have traded stocks while they were still in office could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $1 million.
A similar bill was released just last week by two Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff of Georgia and Mark Kelly of Arizona. Their bill would also ban Congress members from trading any stocks, and the penalty for doing so would be the equivalent of that person’s full salary.
Ironically, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said recently that she was open to a bill that would ban stock trading by members of Congress. In recent months, Pelosi’s own stock trades — and that from members of her family — have garnered a lot of attention in the media and online.
Commenting on the potential for such a ban, Pelosi said:
“To give a blanket attitude of we can’t do this and we can’t do that because we can’t be trusted, I just don’t buy into that. But, if members want to do that, I’m OK with that.”
In other words, Pelosi is not at all in favor of the ban on stock trades, because her own bank account would suffer considerably. However, if her membership in the House wants to push forward, she would support it.
Pelosi isn’t the only current lawmaker who’s drawn the ire of the public — and even federal agencies — for their stock dealings.
North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr is actually under a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation. The SEC is looking to see whether Burr violated insider trading laws after he liquidated almost his entire stock portfolio when he received information regarding the pandemic.