What You Need to Know
- The Ban Conflicted Trading Act would bar members of Congress from trading stocks and serving on corporate boards.
- Several lawmakers sold stocks before the market cratered in March 2020, highlighting conflicts of interest.
- The bill goes further than the 2012 STOCK Act.
A bipartisan bill that would ban members of Congress from trading individual stocks has been introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The Ban Conflicted Trading Act would bar members of Congress, along with their senior staffers, from buying or selling individual stocks and other investments and from serving on any corporate boards while in office.
New members would be allowed to sell individual holdings within six months of being elected, and sitting members of Congress would be allowed to sell individual holdings within six months after enactment of the bill. Congressional members would also have the option of retaining investments while in office if those investments were transferred to a blind trust.
When the bill was introduced on Wednesday, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., a co-sponsor of the Senate bill, along with Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., noted in a statement the “need to end the era in which members of Congress buy and sell individual stocks for personal gain. This practice is deeply corrupt.
“First, it biases the viewpoint of members when working on legislation related to a stock they own. Second, members trade on information they hear that the general public doesn’t. And that’s just wrong,” according to the statement.