WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Matt Rosendale (MT-02), along with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-04), and Congressman Ken Buck (CO-02), introduced the Bipartisan Ban on Congressional Stock Ownership Act to ban Members of Congress and their spouses from owning and trading individual stocks.
“We’ve made strides to ensure that Congress returned to an honest and properly functioning legislative body – ending insider trading by Members is another crucial step that will restore public confidence in our institutions,” said Rep. Rosendale. “It’s unacceptable that so many career politicians abuse their office to enrich themselves rather than putting the interests of the American people first. I’m proud to introduce the Bipartisan Ban on Congressional Stock Ownership Act with Congresswoman Jayapal and Congressman Buck.”
“Only two in ten Americans trust that our government is working in their best interest,” said Rep. Jayapal. “Members of Congress are elected to serve the people, not our own financial interests. As long as members and their spouses are allowed to trade individual stocks – the door to corruption remains open. This legislation is a long overdue, necessary step to raise the ethical standards of Congress and restore the people’s trust in our work.”
“It’s past time for Washington to do the right thing and ban Members of Congress from using their elected position to enrich themselves,” stated Rep. Buck. “Members of Congress receive information that the public does not, it is inappropriate for elected officials to then turn around and invest or buy stocks using that insider information. The American people must have trust that Congress uses this information only to conduct official business, not benefit a stock portfolio. I’m proud to work in a bipartisan manner with Congresswoman Jayapal and Congressman Rosendale on this important issue to restore some faith and trust in Congress.”
Congress will never have the American people’s trust while questions of insider trading linger over the legislative process. This bill will go a long way toward removing questions of financial impropriety and ensure that our elected officials are serving with the sole purpose of benefitting the public interest.
The Bipartisan Ban on Congressional Stock Ownership Act goes beyond current proposals to ban stock trading and bans the ownership of individual stocks outright. Specifically, the legislation:
Bans Members of Congress and their spouses from owning and trading individual stocks, bonds, commodities, futures, and other securities, including an interest in a hedge fund, a derivative, an option, or any other complex investment vehicle. It does not ban common, widely held funds, such as mutual funds and ETFs, as long as those funds do not present a conflict of interest and are diversified.
Allows a transition period for lawmakers to divest their holdings and come into compliance, including a similar period for newly elected Members starting when they’re sworn in.
Establishes a civil penalty of up to $50,000 for each violation. The Department of Justice and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel would enforce the law.
Includes a provision that allows a deferral of taxation of gains on investments that Members of Congress and their spouses are forced to divest.