Two Senators, Kirsten Gillibrand (D) and Josh Hawley (R) are set to introduce a bipartisan bill that would prohibit executives and lawmakers from owning stock in individual companies, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The legislation is likely to be introduced as soon as this week. While owning a stock of the individual company would be prohibited, lawmakers and executives would be allowed to own mutual funds and broad industry and index funds. Similarly, Congress members and their aides would be banned from owning stocks.
“It is critical that the American people know that their elected leaders are putting the public first,” said Gillibrand in a statement, “not looking for ways to line their own pockets.”
If a government official is found to be in breach of the proposed bill, he/she would have to forfeit any profits from stock trading and face fines of $10,000 or more. Congress members would face a penalty of at least 10% of the value of the prohibited investments.
The legislation introduction comes after the poll, commissioned by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation, found that every fourth out of five voters is in favor of a ban on stock ownership by members of Congress, the president, vice president, Supreme Court justices, and their families.
“While the prospect of a stock-trading ban is controversial within Congress, public support approaches unanimity,” commented Steven Kull, the director of the Program for Public Consultation.