Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) wants to bar lawmakers and their spouses from owning and trading stocks while in office by proposing the ‘PELOSI Act.’
The bill, whose title is “Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments (PELOSI) Act,” takes a dig at its namesake, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“For too long, politicians in Washington have taken advantage of the economic system they write the rules for, turning profits for themselves at the expense of the American people,” Hawley said.
“As members of Congress, both Senators and Representatives are tasked with providing oversight of the same companies they invest in, yet they continually buy and sell stocks, outperforming the market time and again.”
“While Wall Street and Big Tech work hand-in-hand with elected officials to enrich each other, hardworking Americans pay the price,” according to Hawley.
“The solution is clear: we must immediately and permanently ban all members of Congress from trading stocks.”
The bill allows elected representatives a six-month grace period to either divest their holdings or place them in a blind trust during their tenure in office.
Pelosi is the wife of Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old San Francisco-based venture capitalist whose net worth is said to be more than $120 million thanks to his holdings in technology stocks.
Between 2007 and 2020, Pelosi and her husband saw their stock portfolio’s worth balloon by as much as $30 million.
The couple made millions by dint of their ownership in shares of tech behemoths such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft, according to publicly available disclosure forms.
The Pelosis’ stock bonanza spurred bipartisan calls to ban legislators from trading in stocks due to the perceived conflict of interest given their roles in regulating the relevant industries.
Last year, however, Pelosi was one of the few notable lawmakers who lost money on stocks as shares of tech companies gave up much of their pandemic-era gains.
Throughout most of her 20-year tenure in Congress, Pelosi indicated she would not support legislation to bar legislators from trading stocks.
But fierce criticism prompted Pelosi to relent and express her support for overhauling the system.
The Democrat-led Congress appeared poised to vote on the matter, but the issue was shelved just before the midterm elections.