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US may ban lawmakers from trading on Street, new poll shows public support

The bill from Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) and Josh Hawley (R, Mo) is the latest in a series of measures to be introduced in Congress in response to WSJ's Capital Asset series last year

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bs reporter
19 July
 
Two US Senators are poised to introduce bipartisan legislation later this week that will prohibit lawmakers from owning stocks in individual companies and blind trusts, according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
 
The bill from Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) and Josh Hawley (R, Mo) is the latest in a series of measures to be introduced in Congress in response to WSJ’s Capital Asset series last year, which found that many top executive-branch employees owned stocks in companies that their agencies helped to regulate.
 
“It is critical that the Americans know that their elected leaders are putting the public first,” Gillibrand in a statement, “not looking for ways to line their own pockets.”
 
Employees of the executive branch face strict conflict-of-interest rules that prohibit them from owning or trading shares in companies that they oversee as part of their jobs.
 
The bill includes stiff penalties for government officials who violate the rules. Employees of the executive branch would have to forfeit any profits from stock trading and face fines of $10,000 or more, the report said. The new bill would outright ban ownership of individual stocks by members of Congress and their aides, according to the report. Lawmakers and their aides are currently allowed to own and trade individual stocks as long as they don’t make investment decisions based on non-public information they learn from their jobs in Congress, it said. 
 
Under the new bill, members of Congress would face a penalty of at least 10 per cent of the value of the prohibited investments for not complying with the ban.

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First Published: Jul 19 2023 | 10:08 PM IST

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