In the annals of the United States Congress, I doubt there has ever been a more appropriately named bill for a more appropriate and necessary reason than the bill proposed by Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley on Tuesday. The name of the bill, which seeks to prevent lawmakers and their spouses from trading stocks and other securities on which they have privileged information? The PELOSI Act. Priceless.
Even more brilliant, the acronym “PELOSI” stands for the “Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments Act.” Is that top-shelf stuff, or what? And comedy gold to boot.
Members of Congress and their spouses shouldn’t be using their position to get rich on the stock market – today l’m introducing legislation to BAN stock trading & ownership by members of Congress. I call it the PELOSI Act.
Members of Congress and their spouses shouldn’t be using their position to get rich on the stock market – today l’m introducing legislation to BAN stock trading & ownership by members of Congress. I call it the PELOSI Act pic.twitter.com/aIXNwSnTvW
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) January 24, 2023
As Fox News reported, the PELOSI Act would require lawmakers and their spouses to divest securities holdings or put them in a blind trust within six months of entering office. The bill would also require any profits made by lawmakers or their spouses to be returned to American taxpayers.
Hawley’s bill excludes mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and Treasury Bond purchases. Mutual funds and ETFs (exchange-traded funds) consist of managed portfolios, and market timing isn’t a factor.
The PELOSI Act specifically amends the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, which prohibits using nonpublic information for private profit, commonly known as insider trading — the illegal practice of trading on the stock exchange to one’s own advantage through having access to confidential information.
And therein lies the arrogant audaciousness of Nancy Pelosi’s long-held staunch opposition to the concept contained in the bill aptly named after her and her husband, Paul: Insider trading is already illegal for business leaders and everyday Americans.
The aforementioned Ethics in Government Act requires the president, the vice president, specific executive branch employees, the Postmaster General, various groups of civilian employees, certain members of Congress, and judicial officers to file a report that includes the source, type, and value of income gained from any source other than their current employment. It was amended in 2012 when Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) introduced the “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act” or the “STOCK Act,” to aid in eliminating congressional insider trading.
The legislation, which was signed into law by then-President Barack Obama no less, prohibits lawmakers and employees from utilizing information gained through legislative meetings (emphasis, mine) to profit privately. The act also specifies that lawmakers are not exempt from insider trading prohibitions under securities laws, and it requires congressional lawmakers to report any stock transactions by themselves or their family members of $1,000 or more within 45 days. (Nancy Pelosi was unavailable for comment.)
Another part of Hawley’s brilliance: The PELOSI Act sets a trap for House Democrats.
The push to prevent lawmakers from privately profiting through public office has bipartisan support. In addition to Hawley, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have proposed similar legislation in past, including Sens. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.). And in early January, Reps. Chip Roy (R-Tx.) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) reintroduced a bill that would ban lawmakers and their family members from trading individual stocks or using their public office for “political gain.”
While the gist of Hawley’s PELOSI Act should have become law years ago, the bill’s name, of course, boils down to the suspect (at best) activities of San Fran Nan’s hubby Paul — and the former Speaker’s blatantly hypocritical opposition to legislation prohibiting her husband’s “deal-making.”
REPORTER: "Should members of congress and their spouses be banned from trading individual stocks while serving in congress?"
PELOSI: "No…We are a free market economy. They should be able to participate in that." pic.twitter.com/2SNqSCwFEU
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) December 15, 2021
The Bottom Line
So what’s a “good” Senate Democrat to do, here?
That depends on a Democrat’s definition of “good,” of course, but Josh Hawley’s masterfully named PELOSI Act will lay bare where Democrat “loyalties” lie. I hesitate to use “loyalties” and “Democrat” in the same sentence, but so be it.
Given the bipartisan support for most if not all of the specifics contained in Hawley’s bill, surely Senate Democrats won’t get all snitty and vote against the PELOSI Act, merely because of its name, right?
Don’t count against it.